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1843 - 1943 






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-W. N. Moyers- 

It is to W. N. Moyers that the credit must be given for 
the move to produce something to celebrate the county's 
100th birthday. It is to him that most of the knowledge 
contained within this book must be credited. 

School teacher, surveyor and historian, he will long be 

He came up through life by work and by ability. To 
the very end, he was a student and ready to learn. His 

•3 quest for knowledge never ceased. 


It is to be regretted that he died before this book saw 

-)- print, and as it was being written, he could not aid as he 

lO^ would like to have done. He only knew that it was being 

ij^ done, and that much of the things he knew and had told 

about were being written. 

■^ It is proper and fitting that it should be called his 

*j history. J. L. .Wall, his son-in-law, did the writing. We 

^ contributed a chapter ourselves on the flood, and Joseph 

■ O'Sullivan contributed a chapter on World War I and 

^ World War II to present date. But the real history is 





The publication of Movers' History of Pulaski County is 
not intended to be a deep and exhaustive history of this county 
nor is it intended to go into history of families. Rather, it is 
intended to tell in an interesting manner, the history of the 
county in a direct and simple manner, easy to read and under- 
stand, containing the important facts and recounting of the 
important events. 

It could have been made an exhaustive history, but such 
would have required much time, labor and expense. This is 
to fill a practical place and need. 

The history came about, indirectly, through the efforts of 
Mr. Moyers. He sought to get this county interested in ob- 
serving its centennial and to this end he worked. Because 
of war such a thing as a celebration was hardly possible, and 
it was suggested that perhaps a history might be issued. 

Encouragement was found at the hands of the County 
Board and others. Mr. Moyers agreed. The cost was con- 
siderable, but through advertising, sale of books and by help 
of the County, the book is produced. 

The writing is not by Mr. Moyers. but rather by his son- 
in-law, J. L. Wall. But when it comes to the facts in the 
book, many of them came from Mr. Moyers or he suggested 
where they might be found. In a good many ways, it is Mr 
Moyers speaking through Mr. Wall. Certainly the fund ol 
knowledge Mr. Moyers had and which passed on to 'Mr. Wall 
is very fortunate for this county. It is to be regretted that 
illness and death overtook Mr. Moyers before this book went 
to press. 

Very few counties can produce so complete a history, so 
brief and so well told. 

There is an added chapter by Joseph O'Sullivan about the 
First World War and about the present World War up to 
December, 1943. We have added a chapter about the greai 
flood of 1937. 

We trust the book will find favor as we think it deserves. 

— The Pulaski Enterprise, Mound City, Illinois. 

Frank Ledbetter. 

Part I 





Historical Background 

Pulaski County, as all of the other counties in the State, 
has an historical background which goes back to the first 
exploration of the continent of Xorth America. Prior to the 
coming of the French explorers. Joliet and Marquette, in the 
year 1673 A. D., little, if anything, was known by Europeans 
about the central portion of the Continent of Xorth America. 
They knew vaguely that there was a vast hinterland west of 
the Allegheny Mountains. How far westward the land ex- 
tended, no one knew and few dreamed of the vastness of the 
New World which was then in process of exploration. 

Joliet and Marquette, pursuing their explorations on foot 
and by canoe, penetrated the wilderness of the continent to 
the Great Lakes region. The country had been fairly well 
explored that far. 

After spending some time at ]^Iackinac. they with five other 
Frenchmen and two Indian guides left May 13, 1673, in two 
bark canoes laden with provisions. They traversed Lake 
Michigan and came to the Fox River on the banks of which 
stood an Indian village occupied by the Kickapoos. Mascoutins 
and Miamis. A missionary priest. Father Allouez, had a 
mission at this place. Here the explorers announced to the 
Indians their intention of seeking the great river of 'which 
they had heard rumors and of which their auditors had very 
vague conceptions. 

The Indian guides led them up the Fox and helped them 
portage to the Wisconsin River but would go no farther on 
such a mad expedition. Down the Wisconsin the daring 
Frenchmen drifted, their eyes gladdened by the beauties of 
the land on every hand, until on June 17, 1673. they floated 
onto the broad bosom of the mighty Mississippi. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

Some 180 miles down steam they landed at an Indian village. 
They were very g-raciously received by the inhabitants who ' 
said, "We are Illinois," we are men, "the whole village awaits 
you. Enter our cabins in peace." 

After six days of rest, the explorers, conducted by the 
Indians who bestowed upon Marquette the calumet of peace, 
reembarked in their canoes and continued down the stream 
until they came to the Arkansas River. Here they turned 
back and returned to Green Bay, Wis., where they arrived 
in September, 1673. The vast new region which these intrepid 
Frenchmen had traversed was given the name of Illinois ' 
Country from the name which the Indians used in their 

From time to time other Frenchmen came and settle- 
ments were established in the new country. The first perma- 
nent settlement was at Kaskaskia, though the date of its 
establishment is unknown. Soon thereafter Cahokia was 
founded and others followed. 

"VaBache" and "Cantonment WilkinsonvUIe"- 

In the late years of the 1920's the U. S. Government built 
Dam 53 in the Ohio River for the purpose of controlling the 
depth of the water in that stream for purposes of navigation. 
This (Jam is situated some 15 miles upstream from the mouth 
of the Ohio in the northeastern part of Pulaski County. Built 
at the downstream end of the large outcrop of limestone in 
the Ohio known as "The Grand Chain of Rocks." the dam has 
raised the level of water in the river so that the "chain" is 
ever hidden from view. 

Looking upstream from the dam site on a clear day one 
can see the sites where formerly stood "Cantonment Wilkin- 
sonville" and "\'aBache". The former was a military outpost 
of the United States in the early part of the 19th centurv 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

and the latter was a tanyard established and operated by a 
Frenchman, Sieur Charles Juchereau, in the early years of 
the 18th century. 


Louis XIV of France, an enthusiastic patron of Canada, had 
many troubles in Europe. Sier Charles Juchereau de St. Denis 
was one of his staunch supporters in these troubles. As a 
reward, Louis gave him a royal patent to establish a tannery 
on the Ohio River (then called by the French "Ouabache") 
in the Illinois Country (then a French possession attached to 
Canada), and to kill and skin all the buffaloes he could and 
tan their hides. Juchereau organized a company for this 
purpose. In it were some thirty men of his own class as 
shareholders. These with their servants, the tanners and 
their helpers, the carpenters, sailors, cooks, doctors, and 
perhaps other workmen made up a large company for that 
day and place. In addition to the workmen, etc., there were 
a number of soldiers (fifty or more) who had seen service, 
but were not at that time in the King's army. The whole 
company included 150 men or more. 

No one knows how they arrived at Kaskaskia but in 
November 1702 they left there to go down the Mississippi 
and up the Ohio to the destined tanyard, at the head of the 
"Grand Chain of Rocks". When they had established the 
tannery they called it "VaBache". 

Near the head of the "Grand Chain" on the Illinois side was 
a low gap in the watershed. In recent years this gap has 
become known as Post Creek Gap. There the tanyard was 
established. The summit of the gap was about 2.400 feet 
north of the low water line of the river and about 80 feet 
higher. This made an easy grade down to the river and a 
bayou which was then there made a good foot way down 
to the water. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

The site chosen for this venture was a mound-like hill, about 
four miles up stream from where U. S. Dam 53 now is, at the 
head of the Grand Chain of Rocks which extend across the 
Ohio at this point. Here an extensive wilderness establish- 
ment was set up and the skins of thousands of buflfalo. in 
which the region abounded, were tanned during- the few 
months following. 

Juchereau was faced with many difificulties. An incredible 
amount of labor must be done to build the tan vats, to erect 
shelters and to provide for the protection and safety of th(i 

Ten or twelve hunting lodges were built and a large cistern 
was dug. In time the cistern caved around the edges and 
filled from the bottom and became the '"Round Pond." This 
pond was drained by the digging of the "Post Creek Cutoff". 

On a hill to the east of the gap. which resembles a large 
potato mound, the soldiers of the party entrenched. The hill 
was about 100 feet higher than the gap. Barracks on the north 
side of the hill and rifle pits were dug on the east and west 
faces of the summit with connecting trenches on the south 
side of the hill. Apparently they expected trouble, if any. 
would come from the direction of the river. Having arrived 
late in Xovember the party spent the rest of the year 1702 in 
providing their cjuarters. etc. 

Early in 1703 the hunt began. Outposts were established 
on various streams and the hunt extended up the Wabash, 
the Tennessee, the Cumberland. Big ]\Iuddy. Apple Creek, 
and Castor River. Parts of three present States were covered. 
The skins were brought to "\'aBache" from these outposts 
by boat. By April. 1704. 13.000 buffaloes had been killed, 
skinned, and the skins transported to the tannery. 

Covertly the Indians watched the slaughter. Seeing 
thousands of the carcasses left as food for scavengers, they 
became highly incensed. Soon they were planning to extermi- 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

nate the spoilers. Dreading the rifles of the French they 
planned a concerted surprise of "VaBache" and all of its out- 
posts, devising a massacre of the hunters. 

The buffalo hunters had established outposts over a wide 
territory in which the skins of the buffalo were collected and 
boated to the tannery. The Indians from the Southeast, the 
Xorth, and the West planned together to exterminate these 
disturbers of their domain who were so greedy for skins that 
stood for gold. 

In June. 1704, the Cherokees, Creeks. Choctaws, and others 
including the Chickasaws gathered along the Tennessee River 
with their canoes. Some Spaniards came to lead them and 
furnished a few of them with muskets of Spanish make. 
The Miamis. Shawnee, Kickapoo, and other Illinois tribes 
rendezvoused along the Wabash with their weapons including 
such firearms as they owned. The ^lissouri tribes assembled 
on Clear Creek. The French traders of the woods, whose 
business had been ruined, kept the Indian leaders informed 
as to the movements of the hunters, that most of them 
were at the tannery and that they were short of ammunition. 
They also knew that there were no skins to be guarded in 
the outposts and that there would be little watchfulness on 
the part of the ones stationed in them. 

A simultaneous ambush and massacre was planned. On the 
same night the tannery and all of its outposts w.ere assulted. 
Places of vantage were chosen and at dawn a volley was fired 
in "Va Bache" announcing that the fight was on. Of the 
Frenchmen, Juchereau alone, escaped though the exact 
manner in which he did is not known. 

Over a hundred years later the bones of the massacred 
were found. Later a sawmill located near the site of "\^a- 
Bache" and in sawing up the timber, it was discovered that 
the logs were full of musket balls. After the land was in 
cultivation it was necessary to plow around the rifle pits. 

6 Moyers' Histor y of Pulaski County 

Arrow heads, musket balls, and other evidences of the des- 
perate fight were found. The rifle pits may still be located 
by slight depressions and one is intact. The site is covered 
with small trees and underbrush. If one would visit it, it is 
necessary to follow the old Grand Chain-Metropolis road to 
Post Creek Cutofif and then walk one-fourth mile to the hill 
on which the battle raged. 

-Cantonment Wllklnsonville- 

When Washington became President, the Indian troubles 
in the Northwest Territory were serious. General Wayne 
was sent to the Wabash where he won some battles and built 
many forts. After the death of General Wayne, General 
James Wilkinson became the commander of the American 
Arm.ies. He was thoroughly familiar with the Spanish claim 
to everything west of the Tennessee up to the Ohio River. 
He also knew that Spain had once sent an expedition up the 
Mississippi to attack some forts, among which was Massac. 
These two things (the Spanish menace and the Indian 
troubles) decided Gen. Wilkinson to establish a military out- 
post at Massac and at "Grand Chain of Rocks". This was 
the southwest extremity of the Northwest Territory. Massac 
was garrisoned by a battalion of regular artillery, and the 
camp at the "Grand Chain" (called Cantonment Wilkinson- 
ville by him) was for the training of Militia. 

The Cantonment, Fort Wilkinson, stood on a beautiful 
site. 60 to 70 feet above low water mark, with a gentle slope 
to the river. Surrounded by the low hills in the shape of 
half an elipse, it contains 100 acres, nearly four times as 
long as wide. It is 2,000 feet from the river bank to the top 
of the low hills which divide the waters of the Cache basin 
from those of the Ohio and the gravel road which was the 
old trail used by Juchereau in reaching his tanyard just half 
a mile east of the site of the Cantonment. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

Established in 1797 the Cantonment was composed of a 
number of log barracks, each of which held a mess sergeant 
and his 20 men. A large magazine was built, about 400 acres 
of land was cleared, a mound was built for a look out, and a 
road was built to the low water line of the river. The road 
is still in use. 

Lt. Col. David Strong, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, 
was the commander and it was under his directions that all 
of the preparations were made. Col. Strong remained as 
Commandant until his death on August 19. 1801. He had 
been in failing health for several years. On his death his 
wife and the men of the command buried him in the grounds 
just outside the fort. 

After the death of Col. Strong the Cantonment had various 
commandants. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 the 
frontiers of American territory were moved far westward and 
the soldiers stationed at Wilkinsonville had little employment 
and the Cantonment finally fell into disuse. 

By 1807 the buildings were gone and the cleared lands were 
grown over with brush and briers. Tradition says that some 
Indians came from Kentucky and demanded liquor of the 
inhabitants. Upon being refused they burned the buildings 
of the place. 

Several soldiers were buried near the fort in the grounds 
of the Cantonment. The graves have been plowed over and 
are now difficult to find. Besides Lt. Col. Strong and his son, 
Joseph, about 70 other soldiers lie at Wilkinsonville. The 
graves were never marked and this spot where so many 
soldiers lie has been practically forgotten. On May 30, 1936, 
the D. A. R.. and the American Legion united in the ceremony 
of placing and unveiling a marker in honor of Lt. Col. Strong 
within the bounds of the old Cantonment. 

8 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

^Development to a Chartered County — 

Pulaski County, along with the rest of the Illinois Country 
continued a French possession until the close of the French 
and Indian War Avhich began in 1756. The Treaty of Paris, 
which marked the close of this War, transferred all of the 
possessions of the French east of the Mississippi River to the 
English. Thereupon England promptly took possession of the 
Illinois Country. They continued to so designate it. 

English possession of this fertile and beautiful country, 
however, was destined to be short lived. In 1776 the War for 
American Independence was begun and Patrick Henry, Gover- 
nor of Virginia, ordered Gen. George Rogers Clark to take the 
Illinois Country from the British. This he proceeded to do 
with a small, poorly equipped army of heroes. Thus in the 
space of some 15 years the English lost possession of our 

The first civil government set u\) by the new possessors of 
the country was the organization of a new COUNTY of \'ir- 
ginia by Act of the Legislature in December, 1778. It was 
given the name "Illinois County" and Gov. Henry appointed 
John Todd as Lieut. -Commander of the new county. This 
organization continued until 1784 when Virginia ceded her 
conquests to the U. S. Government and they became known 
as the Northwest Territory. 

By 1787 the population of the North-West Territory had 
increased until it was thought advisable to divide it and 
Illinois became a part of the new Indiana Territory. All of 
that part of Indiana Territory which later became Illinois was 
placed in one county in the new territory and called St. Clair 
Count}-. In 1809 Illinois was separated from Indiana Terri- 
tor)- and became Illinois Territory, divided mto two counties, 
VIZ. St. Clair and Randolph. Pulaski County was included in 
Randolph County. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

In 1812 another division of counties took place and Johnson 
County was organized out of a part of Randolph. Johnson 
County at that time comprised all or part of what are now 
Johnson. Union, Alexander, Pulaski, Massac, Williamson, 
Pope, and Jackson counties. 

In 1818 Johnson was divided and Union County was organ- 
ized and included all of the present Union County, all of what 
is now Alexander County and that part of Pulaski County 
which lies south of the present Union County. The remainder 
of ovir county was still attached to Johnson County. 

In 1819, Alexander County was organized out of Union 
County and included that part of the present Pulaski County 
which lies west of the line dividing Townships 1 and 2 East 
of the Third Principal Meridian. 

Pulaski County was organized in 1843 from Alexander and 
Johnson Counties and included all of that part of Alexander 
Comity east of Cache River and Mill Creek and that part of 
Johnson County extending south of^Cache River to the Ohio 
River and lying west of the line dividing Townships Range 
2 and 3 East of the Third Principal Meridian. Thus our 
county came into existence as a distinct political unit. It is 
bounded on the south and west by Alexander County, on the 
North by Union and Johnson Counties and on the east by 
Massac County and the Ohio River. The area of the county 
is approximately 190 scjuare miles. 

The county was named in honor of Count Pulaski, a Polish 
nobleman who was born in 1747 A. D. This gentleman, after 
the dismemberment of his native country. Poland, by the 
European nations, came to America and served with distinc- 
tion as an ofificer in the Army of Gen. Washington in our own 
Revolutionary War. 

Ill the act of the Legislature authorizing the setting up of 
Pulaski County, Henry Sowers, Thomas Lackey, Jr.. and 
Thomas Howard were named as Commissioners to select the 

10 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

seat of justice of said county in the event the citizens of the 
afifected territory decided to form the new county. Accord- 
ingly after the election the Commissioners met and after 
"mature deliberation" decided upon the town of North Cale- 
donia as the seat of justice. This town had been platted 
some time before 1843 by Justus Post but the plat had never 
been recorded. He and his wife Eliza G. made the first deed 
ever recorded in Pulaski County in conveying their donation 
for a seat of justice to the county. This consisted of Blocks 
No. 2, 3, 25, 26, 35, 36, and Water Blocks F and G in the town 
of Caledonia totalling some 1.79 acres, in lieu of the 10 acres 
originally required in the act of the Legislature authorizing 
the constituting of the new county. Only that part of the 
plat of Caledonia which was donated to the county for a seat 
of justice has ever been made a matter of public record and 
as a result there has always been some difficulty in regard to 
the location and title to the properties of this old town. 

Caledonia continued as County Seat until it was robbed of 
this coveted honor by the new City of Mound City in the 
1860's. The story of this change will be told in connection 
with the history of Mound City which will be found in another 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County H 

Early Settlers — — 

The first white family to settle in what is now Pulaski 
County was that of James Conyers who came with his family 
from Kentucky in 1805 and located 12 miles upstream from 
the mouth of the Ohio where the Town of America later 
stood. The Indians of the vicinity were friendly at that time 
and often visited this lonely settler's house. 

The next family to come into the county was that of Jesse 
Perrv. He settled two miles above the Conyers family. In 
1897 Thomas Clark settled where Mound City now stands 
and a short time later a man named Humphrey settled where 
Olmsted now stands. Next came Solomon Hess and settled 
on what is now known as Hess's Bayou. 

George Hacker settled on Cache River in 1806 and John 
Shaver soon settled near him. About 1810 Rice and William 
Sams also settled on Cache. They are all the people who 
lived in this region before the War of 1812, save a family 
named Phillips living not far from the Clark place in Mound 
City in 1812. Since the land had never been opened for entry 
or sale it is obvious that none of them owned any real estate 
and it is certain that they had very little in the way of per- 
sonal property. 

The War of 1812 stopped for the time all immigration into 
the country and the Indians, stirred up by British agents 
and hopes of glory, became very troublesome to the settlers. 
Consequently the "citizens" gathered together in one place 
for self protection. They chose the house of James Conyers 
and forted there having converted it into a block house. It 
seems, however, that this was not done until after the settlers 
at Mound City had been massacred l)y a band of roving Indian 

The Indians had a crossing of the Ohio about a mile above 
the Conyers' place. Tradition has it that Tecumseh crossed 

12 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

the river here when he went south to induce the Creeks and 
other Indians to join his great Confederacy. The crossing" 
was located at the mouth of a little creek about one mile 
north of the site of the old Town of America. 

After the War of 1812 was over, settlers gradually came in 
and a kind of rude civilization sprang up. With the coming 
of permanent settlers, men began envisaging a great city on 
the lower Ohio and soon attempts were made to build one. 
In 1816 four men namely: James Riddle, Elias Rector, Nicho- 
las Berthend, and Henry Bechtle entered lands extending 
from below the mouth of Cache River to the Third Principal 
Meridian and by a general subdivision established Trinity. Xo 
lots were sold but James Berry and Col. H. L. Webb in 1817 
erected a hotel and began a trading and supply business. 
A town was laid out on an extensive scale and two agents. 
William M. Alexander and John Dougherty, represented the 

In 1818 another town was laid out with much pomp and 
ceremony as the future metropolis of the west about 12 miles 
above the mouth of the Ohio on the high banks of the Ohio 
and given the name of America. The proprietors of this new 
adventure in city building were James Riddle, Henry Bechtle, 
and Thomas Sloo of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Stephen and Henry 
Rector of St. Louis. Their agents were Wm. M. Alexander 
and John Dougherty. It seems that even then Trinity was 
fading away as a possible location for a prosperous and great 
city. Alexander was a physician of great eminence in those 
days and had been a representative in the State Legislature 
from Pope County in 1820. Lots were sold, businesses started, 
and the flamboyant processes of inducing people to invest and 
settle in the new town began. In 1819 when Alexander County 
was formed. Dr. Alexander had enough prestige to get the 
town selected as the "permanent seat of justice" for the new 
county which was, incidentally, named for him. However. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 13 

in selecting the site of the new town, not enough care had 
been taken to assure a river port. The town depended on the 
river bourne traffic and after it was well started some one 
discovered that the river front was blocked to boats by a 
long sand bar which effectually prevented any but very small 
and shallow draft boats from landing. This spelled the doom 
of the new metropolis as a commercial city. It continued to 
exist as the county seat of Alexander County until 1833 when 
the countv seat was removed to a more central location and 
a new town named Unity was platted. However, it was not 
until 1837 that the new courthouse was finished and the actual 
transfer accomplished. 

An interesting item in connection with this removal of the 
county seat of Alexander County is that just a few years 
before the Commissioners of the County had bargained with 
the Trustees of the Town of America, for the town had been 
duly incorporated by Act of the Illinois Legislature, to keep 
America as the permanent seat of justice of the county in 
exchange for $1150 orders on the Treasury of Alexander 
County which the Town had accepted in payment of municipal 
taxes. It had been agreed that if the county seat should ever 
be removed, the debt should be reinstated and the county be- 
come liable for the full amount with interest at seven per- 
centum compounded annually from the date of such removal 
until the debt should be paid. The debt was never paid or at 
least there is no record of it. However, there is the record 
of the beginning of a suit in the circuit court of Alexander 
County by the Town of America for the recovery of the debt 
but there is no record of any disposition of the case. If this 
debt were collectible today it would make the present public 
debt of that county pale into insignificance for some $1150 
compounded annualy at seven per centum over a period of 
mo'-e than one hundred years mounts to dizzy heights. 

14 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 
Social and Economic Development- 

The earliest settlers of the county found a country covered 
with a dense forest abounding- in game and a soil of unsur- 
passed fertility. To provide grain and "sass" for their tables, 
it v/as necessary to clear the land on which it should grow. 
However, there was no market for anything which the soil 
produced since all the large settlements were far off so a small 
corn and vegetable patch sufficed. A small patch of cotton 
provided the means of making clothing. The women and girls 
usually tended to the truck and cotton and the men and boys 
hunted, cut cordwood for the steamers when they came, or dis- 
ported themselves generally after the corn crop was "laid by." 

The social life was necessarily simple for they had no such 
complex social organizations as we of today. Marriage 
usually took place very early in life. The l)ride and groom, 
with a few pewter dishes and table furnishings, a skillet, a 
pot. a knife, and a gun, were well off or at least as well off as 
their contemporary acquaintances. Their clothing was all 
home made in the purest sense, for they had to begin \\ith 
the raw materials which they of necessity must wrest bv their 
own labor from nature. For cloth, thev raised cotton, "inned 
it by hand, spun it on a wheel and then wove the cloth. Then 
such a time as the women and girls had in dyeing, cutting, 
and sewing. The swains could plainly see hanging from the 
walls of the cabins the handiwork of the damsels on whom 
they called and doubtless the evidences of industry on the part 
of the beloved had its effect in arousing the matrimonial in- 
stincts of the prospective suitor. 

The houses of those who settled in this wilderness country 
were built of logs and were usually one or two rooms with a 
loft reached by a ladder fastened perpendicularly to the wall. 
The furniture was home made and of the rudest sort. Heat 
was furnished by fire places made of sticks and clay or of fiat 
stones gathered with much labor from the hill sides and 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 15 


The principal foods were fish and game with corn bread, 
hominy, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, squash, 
and perhaps a few other vegetables from the truck patch. 
Then there were wild berries, nuts, greens, and various wild 
fruits which these early settlers utilized for a much needed 
change of diet and to give them some variety in their food. 
None need starve even then or go undernourished but there 
was no complaints about a surplus of food such as some of us 
in this generation have heard. There were no corner grocery 
stores to tempt the appetite and not enough delicacies avail- 
able to pall the appetites of the people. 

Though the people knew little of luxury and much of 
privation and hardship, they were hospitable to both acquaint- 
ances and strangers and pay ofTered for such hospitality as 
their poor cabins afforded was accounted an insult. They 
were only too glad to have company and accounted it a 
privilege to aflFord hospitality to the wayfarer. 

As the population increased in numbers and the social and 
economic life of the people became more and more complex. 
Men of education came with their families. Men seeking 
wealth came and ere many years passed there came into being 
a spirit of class distinction and men came to have much regard 
to possessions. So passed the simplicity of frontier life to be 
replaced by the complex social and economic system of today. 
The pioneer life of our ancestors taught them to depend upon 
themselves and out of this grew that spirit of "rugged in- 
dividualism" which has characterized the "American way of 
life" for some generations. However, our ancestors knew 
not only self reliance they knew of dependence on others in 
times of danger or need and they knew how to share what 
the}- had with those who were less fortunate than they. 
They recognized interdependence as well as their individual 

16 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 


Prior to 1811, no steamboat had ever sailed the waters of 
the Ohio or Mississippi Rivers. It was in December of that 
year that the first steamboat ever to ply the waters of these 
streams was launched at Pittsburgh. Ohio. The commander, 
Capt. Roosevelt, of New York, had gone over these rivers 
from Pittsburgh to New Orleans before the building of this 
steamer which was called the New Orleans and belonged to 
Robert Fulton and Chancellor Livingston. 

The New Orleans came down the Ohio and arrived at iis 
mouth December 18. 1811, on the day that the heaviest shocks 
of the New Madrid earthquake occurred. A brilliant comet 
was visible. The voyagers had previously been conscious of 
some great agitation of nature for they had noted the trees 
swaying and waving on the banks of the stream. But on this 
and the two succeeding days they saw the banks sliding into 
the river, islands disappearing, the trees jerking and the 
waters of the rivers rushing rapidly upstream. While these 
phenomena were occurring, the comet disappeared. Truly it 
muht have been a terrifyingly exciting experience. It was 
during the time of this earthquake which lasted for many 
days that the Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee was formed. Other 
evidences of the violence of its shocks are to be found in a 
large area embracing parts of several states. 

The superstitious, illiterate inhabitants along the rivers, 
seeing that the steamboat and the earthquake came together, 
thought that making a boat run with '"bilin" water" had 
called down the wrath of God. Man in his presumption had 
boiled when if God had wanted it to boil He would have so 
made it. 

As soon as the New Orleans had completed its trip to New 
Orleans and returned to Pittsburgh the commerce on the 
rivers began to grow. This first western steamboat had a 


Now known as the Mound City Maiine Ways, Inc., and having 
an entirely different appearance, the Navy Yard buildings shown 
here were used in the Civil War. The large building at left was 
barracks, the small building was the quarantine station. These 
buildings burned in 1879 after the government abandoned the 
yards in 1874. 


Tops among river packets for looks, speed and dependability 
was the Steamer Dick Fowler shown here at the Grand Chain 
landing. Constructed in the 1890's, the craft was one of many 
traversing the Ohio, passing Pulaski county points. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 17 

speed of about three miles per hour and in addition to its 
stern wheel, it carried two masts, for even Fulton believed 
that the occasional use of sails would be indispensable. 

Before the ability of this steamer to move through the 
water without the use of sails or oars had been thoroughly 
demonstrated, very few people believed that it would be of 
any real use. In fact, several voyages were made before 
many of the merchants along the rivers were convinced of 
the real utility of such a contrivance. To common observers, 
it was a great wonder and in some places spectators thronged 
the banks of the rivers to gaze in awed wonder at the puffing, 
smoking colossus of man's wizardry. The New Orleans was 
rated at 100 tons. 

The second steamboat called the Comet, 25 tons, was placed 
in service in 1813. The third boat, appropriately called the 
Vesuvius, was put into the river traffic in 1814. The fourth 
steamer, the Enterprise, went into service the same year. She 
was pressed into the service of the army by General Jackson 
at New Orleans in December, 1814, and rendered a speedy 
service for that time in conveying the necessary troops and 
supplies to the seat of war. thus making a substantial con- 
tribution to the victory which Jackson won over Pakeham in 
are "Battle of New Orleans" in the War of 1812. 

As soon as it was established that steamboats were prac- 
tical, improvements began to be made in their design and 
construction. Outstanding in the improvement of the steam- 
boat was Capt. Henry M. Shreve. On September 24, 1816, 
Capt. Shreve began his first voyage down the Ohio River in 
the steamer Washington which had been built from his own 

. The Washington was a '"two decker", the first on mid- 
western waters. The cabin was between decks. Another 
innovation was the placing of the boilers on the deck instead 
of in the hold. Fulton had designed his engines with upright 

18 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

and stationary cylinders and had powered his boats with them. 
D. French, another early builder of steamboats, had used 
vibrating cylinders also upright. Capt. Shreve placed the 
cylinders of his engine in a horizontal position and imparted 
the vibrations to the piston. Fulton and French used single 
low pressure engines. Capt. Shreve used a double high 
pressure engine with cranks at rightangles. Capt. Shreve also 
invented the cam cutoff for working the valves of the cylinder 
and installed flues in the boilers. These innovations in power- 
ing the boat saved more than half the fuel required to propel 
the boat. The performance of steamers was so improved that 
their success was assurred. Soon shipyards were being estab- 
lished in convenient localities and steamboat building became 
a leading and vigorous business. The great natural highways 
of inland travel, the rivers, soon became the scenes of bustling 
activity as the great fleet of packet steamers bore on their 
bosoms the vast commerce of the rapidly growing nation. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 19 

-Rise of the Railroads- 

Soon after the success of the steamboat, men in England 
and in the eastern United States began experimenting with 
the idea of a steam carriage for land travel. Despite the 
ridicule heaped upon them as it had been on the pioneers of 
the steamboat these experiments were carried on until there 
evolved the steam railroads. At first the engines were crude 
adaptations of the carriage of that day and incapable of 
moving any considerable load but improvements in design 
and construction soon convinced the public that here was a 
new and successful method of transportation. As early as 
1837 the Illinois Legislature launched an elaborate scheme of 
Internal Improvements which included the building of a 
railroad through the State to be known as the Illinois Central 
Railroad. However the expense involved in the "Infernal 
Improvement Scheme." as some of the taxpayers of that day 
called it, soon jeopardized the solvency of the young state and 
by 1840 the Internal Improvement Scheme was in ruins. The 
state faced bankruptcy and was actually unable to meet its 
financial commitments. On February 1, 1840. the Legislature 
repealed the Internal Improvement Act of 1837. Work which 
had actually begun on the Illinois Central and on which the 
State had expended more than $1,000,000 ceased. 

On March 6. 1843. the State Legislature passed an Act to 
incorporate the Great Western Railway Company which was 
a charter authorizing the construction of a railroad on the 
line of the original Illinois Central from Galena to Cairo. Two 
years later. March 3. 1845. the Legislature repealed the Act 
but th^e Legislature of 1849 on February 10 passed another 
law repealing the repealing Act. Men with axes to grind 
were at work. 

Finally the National Congress in September, 1850, passed 
an Act granting to the State of Illinois some 3,000,000 acres 

20 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

of public land to aid in the construction of the Illinois Central. 
Agam men besieged the Legislature with propositions for the 
building of the road and finally the Legislature, February 10, 
1851, chartered a new Illinois Central Railroad Company to 
which it gave the magnificent donation of land for the con- 
struction of the railroad. The Railroad Company was ex- 
empted from general property taxes on this line but was to 
pay into the treasury of the State seven per cent of the gross 
earnings without any deductions thereof. 

There was some delay in starting work on the construction 
of the railroad due to diflficulties in getting title to the lands 
transferred to the Illinois Central Railroad Company. Finally 
this was accomplished and in March. 1852. the contracts for 
its construction were let and the road was rapidly built. 
On January 1. 1856. the first passenger train, on schedule 
time, ran from Chicago to Cairo. There had been trains over 
the road before but this was the first time a train ran on a 
schedule. Before that they had had no schedule. The Illinois 
Central was at last a reality and Pulaski County had its first 
railroad connection with the outside world. 

Not until after the Civil War did Pulaski Ct)unty have 
another railroad. When that great conflict was over the 
attention of men turned again to the development of the 
country. On March 6, 1867, the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad 
was chartered. This new company was authorized to build 
a railroad from the City of Cairo, by way of Mound City, to 
some point on or near the line separating Illinois and Indiana 
at or near Vincennes. On December 16, 1872, the first pas- 
senger train passed over it from X'incennes to Cairo bearing 
a delegation of the leading citizens of the former city, among 
whom was Gen. Burnside. of Civil War fame, who was the 
chief ofificer and builder of the road. This railroad has since 
changed hands several time through sales and mergers. In 
1881 it became part of the Wabash system of railroads. Later 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 21 

ownership was transferred to the C. C. C. and St. L., com- 
monly known as the Big Four, which has since become a part 
of the New York Central System. 

The development of the railroads continued and in the very 
first years of the Twentieth Century, another railroad entered 
Pulaski County. The Chicago and Eastern Illinois built a 
branch line from Villa Grove to Thebes on the Mississippi 
River. The line crosses the northwest corner of the county 
passing through the villages of Perks and Ullin. This Com- 
pany also built a branch line from Cypress to Joppa on the 
Ohio River. This crosses the northeast corner of the County 
passing through the village of Karnak where it intersects 
the "Big Four." 

As the railroads were built, they entered into competition 
with the other great common carriers, the Steamboats. Due 
to their convenience, speed and other economic factors the 
railroads gradually put the elegant and luxurious passenger 
and freight carrying packet boats out of lousiness. The huge 
masses of ice which swept down the rivers following the 
record breaking freeze of the winter of 1917-18 destroyed 
practically all of the river steamers. Only a few were left 
and the railroads had their business. Steamboating languished 
for some years until the U. S. Government, realizing the need 
for river transportation for National defense purposes and 
for domestic economy, fostered the re-establishment of river 
bourne transportation through the building of dams, dredging 
operations to maintain suitable channels and encouraging the 
building up of barge lines. These things have led to a 
resurgence on the part of steamboating which now carries 
vast quantities of freight on barges over our great river 

The development of the Automobile Industry during the 
present century has led to a metamorphosis of our transpor- 
tation facilities. A vast network of ^highways, paved with 

22 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

concrete, asphalt, brick and gravel, traverse our country. 
Pulaski County, small though it is in territory, has two 
concrete highways traversing its full length. U. S. 51, which 
enters the county a short distance north of Wetaug in the 
northwest corner and leaves it about a mile south of the U. S. 
National Cemetery, was built in 1922 by the State as a part 
of the $60,000,000 Bond Issue network and known then as 111. 
Route 2 traversing our State from the Wisconsin line near 
Rockford to Cairo. Illinois Route 37 was built by the State 
from Marion south to the Mound City National Cemetery in 
the years 1928 to 1934. The county has a network of gravel 
roads which make it possible for almost every citizen to travel 
by car in any kind of weather. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 23 


The Ordinance of 1787 which was passed by the National 
Congress for the government of the Northwest Territory set 
apart for school purposes Section 16 in each congressional 
township in all that vast territory. When the State of Illinois 
was admitted to the Union it accepted the provisions of this 
Ordinance or law. Consequently, there has been from the 
very first provision made, at least in theory, for the education 
of the youth of the State at public expense. However, it was 
in theory only, that this provision existed until 1825. The 
legislature of that year enacted a law allowing 15 or more 
families to levy a tax for running a school. The funds from 
the school sections all were paid into the State Treasury and 
used for the ordinary expenses of the government. 

It was not until 1845 that a school law was passed setting 
up school districts and permitting the voters to levy a special 
tax for school purposes. There had been no Superintendent 
of Public Schools until this time. This law added to the 
Secretary of State the duties of that office also. It also 
provided that the funds which came from the school lands 
should be used for school purposes and the State began paying 
interest on these funds to the schools. 

The children of Pulaski County either attended private 
schools or did not go to school at all. prior to 1845. It is 
probable that most of them received no schooling. The first 
public schools were sorry affairs indeed. The buildings were 
constructed of logs with fireplaces for heating. There were 
one or two makeshift windows and a door for light and 
ventilation. Rough benches and a desk, all home made, were 
the only furnishings. The text books were crude and appar- 
ently selected haphazardly and at random. Reading, writing, 
and arithmetic were about the only subjects taught by the 
teachers who themselves possessed only the rudiamentary 

24 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

elements of an education. These schools were open only a 
few weeks in the year. Attendance was purely voluntary 
and it is to be feared that most of the boys and girls attended 
very little even during those short terms. 

The first compulsory school attendance law was passed in 
Illinois in 1883. This was a step in the right direction, though 
enforcement was lax due to the unpopularity of the law. 
However, it has remained the law and as amended and revised 
through the years, it today requires all under the age of 16 
to attend school until they have graduated from high school. 

In 1843 there were no public schools in Pulaski County. 
Today, 1943. after 100 years there are 47 grade schools with 
an enrollment of 2,874 pupils and seven high schools with an 
enrollment of 736, a total of 54 public schools with 3,590 pupils 
-^vhere a century ago there were none. 

The first school ever built in the territory of what is now 
Pulaski County was erected by the citizens of the Town of 
America, county seat of Alexander County, in 1831. The 
building was erected on public property by consent of the 
Trustees of the Town but was supported by subscription. 
Such schools served admirably in the education and training 
of the youth of our county until they were, as was inevitable, 
superceded by the development of the system of public schools 
supported by public funds. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 25 

-Churches in the County- 

The Atherton settlement, west of \'illa Ridge, was one of 
the first in the limits of Pulaski County. Aaron Atherton 
came from Kentucky and settled here in 1816. Altogether 
there were nine families of Athertons and their relatives 
who settled there at about the same time if not together. 
The first church in the county was organized in this settle- 
ment and the first burying ground in the county was laid out 
in this settlement. It was in 1817 that this church, known as 
"Shiloh Baptist Church," was organized. It is said to be the 
second Church established within the State of Illinois. James 
Edwards and Thomas Howard were the leaders in the for- 
mation of this church and it still stands as a memento of their 
Christian character. The first building was of hewn logs. 
This was later replaced by a large frame house which burned. 
The present building which replaced the burned one is a frame 
building. The present pastor is Rev. H. E. Lockard of Mound 
City. It was here that the people of the old Town of America 
went to chunch when that town was the flourishing metropolis 
of Alexander County. 

Every precinct in the county has within its bounds one or 
several churches of various denominations. Generally the 
people have no lack of church privileges but many of the 
people do not avail themselves of the opportunities of instruc- 
tion and worship afiforded by the churches. Many of the 
faithful bewail this fact pointing to the "great falling away" 
spoken of by Paul. However, it would seem that the truth of 
the matter is that so many of the "churches" have paid so 
much attention to the "revenues" and so little attention to 
the sublime truths contained in the "good news" committed 
imto them that they fail to attract men as they should. Our 
religion has grown to be too much of an organized formality 
with not enough of the power of which Our Lord spake when 

26 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

he said "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is 
come upon you". We sorely need the power of the Spirit of 
the Living God if we would do His work as we ought in this 
present world. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 27 

County OfFicers- 

In November 1879, a fire occurred in Mound City, the 
present county seat of the county, in which nearly all of the 
records of the county up to 1860 were destroyed. Due to this 
regrettable event, it is difficult if not impossible to learn just 
who were the first officers of the county. However, from 
the records that remain it is possible to learn who some of 
them were. It appears from the records of the first term of 
the Circuit Court held in Caledonia, May 1844, that J. M. 
Davidge was the first Count}' Clerk. Algernon Sidney Grant, 
who figured largely in the affairs of the town of America 
was the first Circuit Clerk. From the same source we learn 
that B. B. Kennedy was the first Sheriff. Willis Allen was 
the first Prosecuting (State's) Attorney. The first County 
Judge was Richard C. Hall who served until 1847. 

28 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

Growth in Population 

When the county was organized in 1843. it had a population 
of probably about 1,500. In 1850, the first census after the 
county's organization the population was 2,264. In 1860 it 
was 3,943; in 1870 it had increased to 8,752. and bv 1880 
to 9,507. 

In 1930, the population of the county was 14,834 divided 
among the following races : native born whites, 60 per cent ; 
foreign born whites .6 of 1 per cent, and Negroes, 33.3 per 
cent. In 1850 the population was about 98 per cent white with 
about 2 per cent colored. Following the Civil War the freed 
Negroes of the South began to come into Southern Illinois 
in large numbers and many of them stopped in Pulaski 
County. Some of the men had served in the Union Army and 
came to the North for safety sake. Others heard of oppor- 
tunities which they had been denied and came. Still others 
came for no particular reason save that they wanted to move. 
Through the years they have come until we have the third of 
our population composed of this race. 

It speaks volumes of the amicable aptitude of both races 
that through these years they have dwelt here with very few 
serious difficulties considering the numbers of both races and 
the density of the population, about 80 per square mile. In 
the county there are only two villages which have no Negro 
residents, Karnak and Wetaug. 


Sheriff and Collector 

Member of a prominent Pu- 
laski county family, Britton is 
serving his first term as Sheriff. 
He has been assessor and treas- 
urer two terms and was at one 
time a game warden for the 
state. He is a Republican and 
resides in Mound City. 


County Commissioner 

A successful box company 
owner for many years, L. H. 
Needham of Ullin is completing 
his second term as one of the 
commissioners of Pulaski county. 
A Republican, he has been town- 
ship treasurer for a number of 
years. He has been prominent 
in business affairs of the county 
for many years. 


County Commissioner 

An Olmsted merchant and 
businessman. Commissioner Hog- 
endobler has been active in Re- 
publican political circles for 25 
years. He is serving his fourth 
term in the office which super- 
vises the financial affairs of Pu- 
laski county. Mr. Hogendobler 
was born and reared in Pulaski 
county in the Olmsted vicinity 
and always made his home there. 


County Commissioner 

Judge Rome England of 
Mounds has been a commission- 
er in Pulaski county for over 30 
years and is the only Negro to 
have been chairman of a county 
board in the State of Illinois. 
A Republican, he is a merchant 
at Mounds. He is the oldest of- 
fice holder in the county and has 
often been imopposed. 


County Clerk 

One of the best known mem- 
bers of the courthouse personnel 
is W. W. Waite, who since leav- 
ing the teaching profession in 
1918, has been county clerk. A 
Republican, residing in Mound 
City, he has two sons in service. 
He taught school at Olmsted and 
in rural schools in the county 
before entering politics. 


County Judge 

Serving his second term as 
county judge is Joe Grain of 
Mound City. Judge Crain takes 
an active part in Republican 
politics and in 1940 was a dele- 
gate to the National Republican 
Convention and was the Illinois 
member of the Rules committee. 
He has practiced law in the 
county since 1925. 


School Superintendent 

An experienced school admin- 
istrator, Republican M. C. Hunt 
of Mound City is serving his 
second term as superintendent 
of Pulaski county schools. He 
was a teacher, principal and 
superintendent in the Mound 
City system for 19 years. He 
supervises education in 7 high 
schools and 46 elementary 


Circuit Clerk 

Completing his first term as 
Circuit Clerk is Republican 
Charles E. Adams of Olmsted, 
who has been highly commended 
by patrons of the office for ef- 
ficiency and arrangement. Be- 
fore entering politics, Adams was 
a carpenter by trade. Assisting 
in his office is his wife, Mrs. 
Charles E. Adams. 


State's Attorney 

Major Connell of Mound City 
was in his second term of office 
as Pulaski county state's attor- 
ney when called to active duty 
in the army in February, 1942. 
He has been trained for special 
occupied service. A Republican, 
his term expires, December, 1944. 
In his absence Donald A. Miller 
is acting state's attorney. 


Assessor and Treasurer 

Since 1918, "Sheriff" Hudson 
of Mound City has held an elec- 
tive office in Pulaski county. 
Familiarly known as "I. J.", he 
was elected assessor and treas- 
urer in 1918, 1926, 1934, and 1942, 
and sheriff in 1922, 1930, and 
1938. His brother. Dr. O. T. Hud- 
son of Mounds is coroner. Both 
are Republicans. 

Part II 




Pulaski County in Wartimes 

First War of This Area 

It is obvious that Pulaski County, as such, had no existence 
during- the War of 1812. However, it was during this War 
that there occurred at the site of what is now Mound City, 
at that time known as "The Mounds", due to the various 
mounds found there, the only known massacre of English 
speaking settlers in the territory of this county. At time of 
the massacre, only two families were living where Mound 
Citv now stands. One family was named Clark, the other 
Phillips. They had come from the state of Tennessee follow- 
ing the earthquake of 1811. The family of Clark consisted 
of only himself and his wife. The Phillips family was com- 
posed of Phillips, his wife, a son and a daughter l)oth of 
whom were nearly grown, and a man named Kenady who had 
ingratiated himself into the good graces of Mrs. Phillips, 
whose husband had had occasion to return to Tennessee on 

On a day in the fall of 1812, Mr. Phillips being absent from 
home, there came a man from Union County named Shaver. 
Mr. Shaver stopped at the cabin of the Clark family with the 
intention of buying a jug of whisky which it seems Clark 
manufactured and sold. Mr. Shaver found that Clark had 
company in the persons of 10 Creek Indians who lived in the 
lower part of Kentucky. These Indians were outlaws from 
their own people because of some outrages they had com- 
mitted against their own tribe. Mr. Shaver expressed appre- 
hension to Clark about the Indians, but was assured that they 
had been there before and meant no harm. The Indians 
asked for food and were told by Mrs. Clark that if they 
would grind some corn on the hand mill she would prepare a 

30 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

meal for them. They ground the corn and ate a hearty meal. 
Five of the band then left and went up the river to the cabin 
of Mrs. Phillips. Soon a signal was given and the massacre 
was on. Only M'r. Shaver, of all the people assaulted, was 
able to escape though badly wounded. He made his way back 
home and soon a band of settlers came to seek vengeance, 
but were unable to locate the Indians. They found the bodies 
of the victims and gave them burial. The body of the Phillips 
girl was not found and there was speculation that she was 
carried away. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 31 

-Mexican War- 

Following- the War of 1812, the Indian menace was removed 
or largely abated and settlers began to come into the southern 
end of the State, until 1818 a Territory. Some of them were 
veterans of the War of 1812. Among the trees of the wil- 
derness that was Johnson, then Union, later Alexander, and 
finally Pulaski County, they erected their cabins and began 
to dream of the glories that should be. All apparently were 
ambitious to build up a thriving, prosperous, and populous 
city. Numerous town sites were platted and the great city 
of the Midwest was builded over and over again in their 
dreams. Never again in the history of our continent will 
settlements be made with the hardships, inconveniences, and 
dangers that the early settlements in Southern Illinois faced. 
Modern methods of transportation have removed the most of 
them. No longer do people trek into new regions afoot, in 
oxcart, horseback, or on slow barges. Rather they swiftly 
enter by rail, steamer, automobile, or even by air. No longer 
do they wait patiently for week after week for even a slight 
trickle of news but even before the papers are on the press 
the news is on the air. Especially is this true of news which 
is considered important to the people in general. 

When the Mexican War began in 1846, just three years after 
the organization of Pulaski County, Col. C. H. Webb and 
William A. Hughes immediately raised a company of volun- 
teers to fight in the War. The former was elected Captain of 
the Company and the latter First Lieutenant. There were 105 
men in the Company which was mustered into the service at 
Alton, Illinois. This band of the bravest and best in Pulaski 
County was in but one engagement, the battle of Buena Vista. 
Through changes the Company was officered on the day of 
battle as follows: Captain, William C. Woodward; First 
Lieutenant, John Bartleson ; Second Lieutenant, Aaron Ather- 

32 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

ton; Third Lieutenant, William Price. Before the start of 
the battle Col. Bissell rode up to the Pulaski Company and 
said to Lieut. Price : "You are too old to go into this engage- 
ment ; you will remain in camp." Lieut. Price, nearly 80 years 
old. stood proudly erect and said, "Col. Bissell, I came here to 
fight. If my time has come, I just want to die for my country 
on this battlefield." As the company went into the action, 
Lieut. Atherton. seeing that Capt. Woodward had only a short 
sword gave his to the Captain, saying, "You can take this ; I 
know better how to use a gun!" The last seen of Atherton 
alive he was defending his prostrate friend Lieut. Price. 
Swinging his heavy rifle as he had often swung a cradle in 
the wheat fields of his farm, he fought to the end taking many 
a Mexican soldier with him. Of the 105 men who went to 
Mexico only 42 returned. Sixteen, including every ofificer 
down to the Second Sergeant were killed in this engagement. 
The others died of wounds and diseases. The ofificial name 
of this company. Company B, Second Regiment. Illinois Vol- 
unteers. On the return of the 42 survivors of this company 
in 1847 they were welcomed joyously at a public gathering. 
Speeches were made and a poem, all but two stanzas of which 
is apparently and regrettably lost, was read by J. Y. Clemson. 
The two that have been preserved follow. 

"We lost some noble men that day — 

Men that were stamped in nature's mold; 
For fame and country those they fell. 
Not for the sordid love of gold. 

"Conspicuous on that fatal day 
Was a small band from Illinois, 
Foremost they were in all the fray, 
The gallant, brave Pulaski boys." 

The Company was discharged from service at Caniargo, 
Mexico, on June 18, 1847. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 33 

-Civil War- 

Pulaski County furnished two full companies in the Civil 
War. One of these was in the One Hundred Ninth Regiment 
and one Avas attached to the Thirty First Regiment. This 
latter was John A. Logan's Regiment. Besides these two 
companies there were many other enlistments in other regi- 
ments and in the naval services. 

Until the Civil War the large warehouse building on the 
Ohio River in Mound City, for from the outside the buildings 
appear as one. stood vacant. The Government took posses- 
sion of it in 1861 and converted it into a military hospital. 
It was the largest U. S. hospital in what was then the West 
until after the close of that bloody conflict. After the Battle 
of Shiloh, 2.200 sick and wounded were cared for at one time. 
After the Civil War the building was used variously as a 
hotel, courthouse, stave mill, furniture factory, and, in fact, 
most everything save that for which it was intended l:)y its 
builders until in 1916 a canning company bought it and erect- 
ing a processing plant adjacent to it began to use the old 
building for that purpose for which it was erected, namely a 
warehouse. It is at present owned and operated by the 
Ladoga Canning Company, Indianapolis. Indiana. 

During the Civil War the government also took over the 
foundry at Mound City, which belonged to a man named 
James Goodlow, and used it as a storehouse for shot and 
shell. In 1863 some sailors were handling shells in the foun- 
dry when one exploded. This set ofif the others and the build- 
ings were completely wrecked. Thus a promising industry 
passed from the local scene. 

Because of the excellent harbor, the splendid equipment 
and the central location the Marine Ways at Mound City 
were found by the Government to be ideally situated for the 
maintenance of the fleet of gunboats which was used in 

34 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

carrying on the war in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and 
their tributaries. Consequently the Government leased the 
Ways, paying a rental of $40,000 per year. Fifteen hundred 
men were employed in the building and maintaining of the 
fleet in this one yard. Not until 1874 were the Ways returned 
to their owners. 

The gunboats were converted river steamers and in some 
instances ferries. Their construction was an interesting 
thing. Mr. R. H. Hawley, grandfather of Mrs. Averil Baccus, 
with whom he spent the last years of his life, told how it 
was done. Mr. Hawley, a young man in those days, served 
his country during the conflict as a civil-courier, i. e. a spy, 
and never had any military standing, yet he served his country 
well. His orders came from the naval commandant of this 
district. Consequently he was in position to know how the 
work of converting wooden river steamers into ironclad gun- 
boats was done. 

The steamers were built of the best of white oak. In 
converting to a gunboat, the interior arrangement of the boat 
was changed to accommodate the crew. Magazines were built 
into her and gun emplacements were made. To protect the 
boai and crew some three or four inches of iron plating was 
placed over the outside of the boat. However, before this 
was done, a two inch layer of sponge rubber was placed over 
the boat and the iron on the outside of that. This was to give 
resilence to armor, absorbed the shock and enabled the ship 
to throw oflf the force of the shot or shell which came ag-ainst 
her sides. Due to the necessity of vision, the pilot house was 
the least protected part of the boat and it took a brave man 
to pilot the boat in time of battle. Mr. Hawley said that on 
one occasion, having been to Paducah to deliver some secret 
orders to that portion of the fleet which was stationed there, 
he was returning to Mound City via gunboat which was fired 
upon by artillery from the Kentucky shore just above 01m- 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 35 

steel. At the time he was in the pilot house with the pilot. 
When the shot began to come he said the pilot rushed down 
the stair to the lower deck and did not show his head again 
until the boat was anchoring at Mound City. Mr. Hawley had 
brought her in. 

-Spanish-American War- 

Several Pulaski County men served in the Spanish American 
\\^ar in various units of the armed forces. A full company 
was raised and readied for the war but due to the short time 
the conflict lasted, was never mustered into the service of the 


36 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

Pulaski County in World War I 


The declaration of war against the German Empire on April 
6, 1917, found the United States without an adequate Army. 
Within a month of this date a conscription bill boldly reciting 
the military obligations of citizenship for those between the 
ages of 21 and 31 was introduced in Congress and had become 
a law. In accordance with the terms of this law. the Presi- 
dent of the United States, by Proclamation, set June 5, 1917, 
as registration day. and on that date men between the ages 
of 21 and 31 registered for military dut}-. 

The law was administered, locally, by volunteer, non-paid, 
citizens. Pulaski County had one Selective Service Board. 
L. C. Perks of Mound City, G. J. ^Murphy of Mound City. 
and Dr. Charles Boswell of Mounds volunteered for and were 
appointed as the Pulaski County Board. These men assumed 
their duties soon after the first registration and served 
throusfh the War and until all local boards were disbanded 
as no longer needed. 

Pulaski County, like the balance of the United States, held 
its registration on June 5, 1917. The registrations were held 
at the usual polling places with volunteer registrars manning 
the polls. The registration cards were returned, by the 
registrars, to the County Clerk, who delivered them to the 
local board. 

The total registration in Pulaski County was 1248 by pre- 
cincts : Karnak, 68; Grand Chain, 98; Olmsted. 88; America, 
28; Mound City, 250; Mounds, 249; Villa Ridge, 85; Pulaski. 
81 ; Perks, 36; Wetaug, 38. 

The registration cards were seriallv numbered bv the board 
to await the national drawing for Order Numbers. On July 
20, T917, the first number was drawn from a bowl in Wash- 
ington. This was number 258 and had been assigned to 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 37 

Walter Jiles, who then became Pulaski County's number one 
man Xumber 458 was drawn second and this number had 
been assigned to James Olin Hayes of Grand Chain, who be- 
came number two man in the County, and 854 was the third 
nuiTiber drawn and this had been assigned to Odie C. Wiggins 
of \^illa Ridge, who became number three for the County. 

The local board for Pulaski County immediately set about 
to assign the proper order number to each registrant and to 
proceed with the classifications as was required by the Selec- 
tive Service Act and Regulations. Registrants were placed in 
one of five classes. Class \' was the exempted class, and those 
qualifying for total exemption from military duty were placed 
in this class. This class included duly elected state oflficials. 
ordained ministers of religion, persons in the military service. 
alie;i enemies, resident aliens who had not declared their 
intention to become citizens, persons physically or mentally 
unfit for military services, persons convicted of crime, licensed 
pilots, persons discharged from the armed forces as an alien, 
citizens of a country neutral to the war. and certain citizens 
of Great Britain. Class I was made up of those who were 
found to be ready for immediate military duty. The deferred 
classes II. Ill and IV contained those who were considered 
not exempted from military duty but whose occupation was 
considered essential enough to defer their induction into the 
army until after the Class I had been exhausted. These classes 
contained the married men, the men with dependents, the men 
engaged in agriculture, the men engaged in essential industrial 
occupations, and the men holding certain elective offices. The 
question of deferment was not passed upon by the local board. 
A district board was established in E. St. Louis. Illinois, and 
all claims for deferments were referred to this board for 
determination. The district boards had original jurisdiction 
over all these claims for deferments and passed upon them, 
while the local board had only the power of recommendation, 

38 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

which were generally accepted by the district board. 

Agricultural claims were based upon the amount of pro- 
duction maintained on the farm, and farmers with only a 
sustenance operation were not considered for agricultural 
deferments. Industrial occupations were based on the 
essential nature of the enterprises and in time group defer- 
ments were granted to certain industries, especially to ship 
yards. The detailed regulations issued were complex and the 
classification of registrants into the various classes was dififi- 
cult, as the lines dividing them were very fine, for example 
if a "farm laborer was especially fitted for the work in which 
he Avas engaged" he was placed in Class II; if he were an 
"assistant, associate, or hired manager" he was put in Class 
III. and if he were the "sole manager, controlling and direct- 
ing head" he was put in Class lY. This same graduation of 
responsibility and presumably expertness Avas the basis of 
deferred classification in industry. 

After the local board and the district board had determined 
the proper classification of the registrants, they were ordered, 
in groups, to appear in ]\Iound City for physical examination. 
The first group examination Avas of the first sixty-four men 
on the list. This notice Avas published August 3. 1917. and 
the registrants Avere ordered to appear August 7. 1917; the 
second list, published on August 4. 1917. Avas for 65 men to 
appear August 8. 1917. and the third Hst, published August 5. 
1917. Avas for 65 men to appear August 9, 1917. 

The physical examinations Avere held in the K. of P. hall in 
Mound City. Avith Doctors BosAvell, Hargan. Whiteaker. Hud- 
son and others doing the examining. The local examination 
Avas final as to the physical qualifications of the registrant 
subject hoAvever to appeal to a board Avhich Avas established 
in Cairo. A registrant not satisfied Avith the local doctor's 
findings, or the Government Appeal Agent, likcAvise, could 
appeal to this board and the registrant Avould submit to 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 39 

another ph}'sical examination, de-novo, and the findings of 
this board were final. Registrants passing the local examin- 
ations were then ready for induction into the Army. 

After the first three examinations had been completed the 
local board ])ublished a list of those accepted for the military 
service and those exempted and those deferred, giving in each 
case the reason for the deferment or exemption. This list 
appeared in the Pulaski Enterprise, August 17, 1917. This list 
also contained the names of those registrants who had made 
claim for occupational or agricultural deferment. On August 
31. 1917. a list of those men selected for military service was 
published in the Pulaski Enterprise. 

On September 5, 1917. Pulaski County's first group of in- 
ductees entrained for Camp Grant. Illinois, on the Big Four 
train. This group was Ray Armstrong. Mound City; J. R. 
Wright, ]\Iound Citv ; Henrv Darragli. Mound Citv ; Clarence 
Dusch. Mounds; and Fred HofFmeier, Ullin. 

On September 18. 1917, a group of 38 men left Mound City 
via Big Four for Camp Taylor, Kentucky. The night before, 
a great patriotic demonstration was held in ]\Iound City. A 
parade through the streets was held and stirring speeches 
were made by Judge W. A. Wall, Attorney C. S. Miller, 
County Superintendent of Schools Miss May Hawkins, and 
l)y H. Reiling. This was the first large group to leave the 
County. A special train carried the men with a group from 
Alexander County and grovips were picked up at each County 
Seat on the way north. 

On October 4, 1917, a group of 20 men left Mound City, for 
Camp Taylor, Kentucky, via Big Four, to make the third 
contingent to leave under selective service. After this date 
the group departures became regular, as did individual de- 
parLures in selected branches of the services. 

Prior to the enactment of the Selective Service Act, many 
young men from Pulaski County were already enlisted in 

40 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

the various branches of the Armed Forces. Many men from 
Pulaski County had enlisted in Company K. Illinois Militia, 
and had gone with General Pershing to the Mexican Border. 
At the declaration of war this outfit was sworn into Federal 
service and was placed in the 130th Infantry which became a 
unit in the 33rd Division AEF. This outfit saw much service 
in France and was a part of the first Army of Occupation in 

In all. a total of 468 men from Pulaski County were in the 
Army, Navy, Marine Corps and other branches of the service 
during the period of 1917 to 1919. Many served with distinc- 
tion overseas and some made the supreme sacrifice. 

According to the records of the Pulaski County Alemorial 
Association, the men killed in action from Pulaski County 
were : 

Frank Cannon John Miller 

Barney Crouch Ray Palmer 

Elijah Duckworth Virgil Taylor 

Orin Koonce Otis Turbaville 

Boyd ]\Ietcalf Loren Lence 

Louis Phares DaA^e Fitzpatrick 

and according to the same records the men who died while 
in the Armed Services were: 

Sherman Bell Roy Morket 

Stephen Carney Henry Reece 

Chas. Crippen Geo. Ross 

Floyd Derr Ralph Vick 

Geo. Lampley Nelson Willis 

Robert Meals Thomas Price 
Silas Moore 

After the end of the fighting and after demobilization most 
of the men from Pulaski County retvu^ned home, to their 
former work, and life again resumed its normal, even keel. 

—One of the Early Draft Calls of World War I— 

FRONT ROW: J. C. Mench, Y. M. C. A.; L. C. Perks, Dr. C. J. 
Boswell, and G. J. Murphy. 

SECOND ROW: Ward Corzine, George Hardesty, Carl Mclntire, 
Charles Crippen, Ehjah Duckworth, and Seth Reed. 

THIRD ROW: Coleman, James Edwards, Jones, Charlie Vonnida, 
Harry Welting, and Henry Wiesenborn. 

FOURTH ROW: George Knupp, Robinson, Gilbert Ervin, Mat 
Fallenstein, and last Is unknown. 

FIFTH ROW: Clarence Taylor, Werner Schnaare, Walter Pauls, 
and Ernest Bagby. 


Out of this group Duckworth was killed in action, and Crippen 
was either killed or died as his name is on the monument. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 41 

-Pulaski County in World War II- 


Unlike the situation in World War I. the United States 
had already prepared an Army prior to the declaration of War. 
On September 16, 1940. a Selective Training and Service bill 
became a law. Shortly thereafter, on October 16, 1940. the 
first registration, in peace time, in the history of the United 
States took place and every male citizen between the ages of 
21 and 36 registered for service in a peace time army. 

Profiting by the experience gained in World War I the 
machinery for the registration was the same, that is, was 
done in the polling places by volunteer registrars under the 
direction of the County Clerk. 

In Pulaski County 1825 men between the ages of 21 and 36 
registered in compliance with the law. A local board of three 
members had been organized consisting of H. C. Moore of 
Mounds, chairman; L. J. Beisswingert, Mound City, secre- 
tary; and John Scanlin, Ullin, member. Like World War I, 
the registration cards were numbered serially by the board to 
await the drawing in Washington. On October 29, 1940, the 
Secretary of War drew out the first number. 158. This num- 
ber had been assigned, by the local board to Charles Leo 
Stoner of Wetaug, who thus became Pulaski County's first 
man subject to induction into the armed forces. The local 
board then started to classify all registrants. The intent and 
purpose of the Selective Training and Service law was to 
tram an army and for that purpose each man to be inducted 
was to serve one year in training. 

Registrants were placed into one of four classes. The law 
did not provide an exempted class as did the law of 1917. 
Class I- A were the men who were found to be subject to 
military training under the law and regulations. Class II, 
subdivided into two groups. Class II-A men necesary to 

42 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

civiJian activities of community or nation, Class II-B men 
necessary to the National Defense Program; Class III-A 
men with persons dependent upon them for support ; Class IV 
was subdivided into Class I\^-x\ men in military service or 
who had finished their year of training; Class IV-B certain 
duly elected Public Officials; Class IV-C aliens; Class IV-D 
duly ordained ministers of religion ; Class IV-E conscientious 
objectors, and Class IV-F men physically and morally unfit 
for service in the armed forces. 

After the initial classifications, by the local board, the first 
man to be inducted under the law was George Mclntire of 
Mound City who left Pulaski November 25, 1940, after he 
had volunteered for induction. Since the classifications were 
for peace time service only those men, who in the opinion of 
the board, using the rules and regulations as a guide, could 
be best spared from civilian activities were classed in Class 
I-A and inducted. 

After the declaration of War, by the United States, on 
December 8, 1943. the rules and regulations were changed 
and stricter rules of classifications were prescribed, and the 
business of the local board became that of furnishing an 
army in war time. 

The local board, expanded to five members, has had several 
changes in personnel, John Scanlin resigned and was replaced 
h\ C. S. Rife of Pulaski, who later resigned and was replaced 
bv H. E. Wilson of Villa Ridge ; L. J. Beisswingert resigned 
and was replaced by J. C. ]\IcCormick of Olmsted ; and Henry 
Wiesenborn of Grand Chain and E. C. Holcomb of Ullin Avere 
appointed to bring the board membership up to five. 

Since the first registration other registrations were held in 
Pulaski County and registration is a continuous afifair, as men 
now become 18 years old they are required to register. 

The number of men now in the armed forces, from Pulaski 
County, is not, for military purposes, available for publica- 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 43 

tion. but the names shown on a shaft dedicated in Mound 
City on November 11. 1943. have reached the number of 340 
from Mound City alone, nearly as many as served from the 
County in World War I. 

Several have been killed in action or taken prisoner. The 
list up to November 1. 1943 is: 

Jesse Herbert Gurley of Karnak. Dec. 7. 1941 — USN Pearl 
Harbor on U. S. S. Arizona. 

Frank Massengale. Ullin, Dec. 7. 1941 — USN. Pearl Harbor, 
on U. S. S. Arizona. 

Arthur \'incent Ledbetter. Ullin — Marine, aboard cruiser 
Houston, either killed or captured. 

Donald I. Titus. Mounds, captured in Philippines. 

C. W . Harrell. Mound City — Army, New Guinea, Dec. 9, 

Raymond Richards, Olmsted — Army. Pacific area. 

Ensign Chas. ^ladison James. Mounds — U. S. S. \'incennes. 
Sept. 13. 1942, in Solomons. 

Bernie Nelson, Mound City — Army, Feb. 21, 1943. Guadal- 
canal in gasoline fire. 

Billy C. Laws. Mounds. April 9. 1943. North Africa. 

Talmadge L. Phenix, Grand Chain. ^lay 1. 1943. North 

Frank Louis Sharp, Villa Ridge, Nov. 27, 1943, Italy. 

44 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

The people of Pulaski County as a whole have been a 
people who appreciate the blessings of peace. However, 
like most of the people of our great country they are proud 
of their heritage of freedom. Consequently, when they are 
convinced that that heritage is endangered they are ready to 
take up arms that "government of the people, by the people, 
for the people shall not perish from the earth." 

This spirit has been demonstrated over and over as parents 
have seen their sons, wives their husbands, children their 
fathers enter the service of their country. 

With sad hearts and smiling faces 

They have watched their loved ones go 

Forth to fight our country's battles 
Die or concjuer country's foe. 

Part III 





1937 FLOOD 

The Great Flood 

The greatest flood disaster that ever visited Pulaski County 
happened in January. 1937, when possibly one-third of the 
entire county was under water. The damage may have been 
as great as $2,000,000. although no one ever compiled the 

Early in January of that year, heavy rains fell all along the 
Ohio and on the mountain watersheds of this great stream. 
There were snows and sleets. By the middle of January, the 
Ohio was a big river and rising, and then came the rush of 
water from the upper reaches of the stream that flooded cities 
all along the river, Cincinnati, Louisville, Paducah, Harris- 
burg. Shawneetown and others. 

Levee construction by the government gave the towns' 
threatened in the county courage, and it was not until a week 
before the flood that some uneasyness was felt. Cities farther 
north were flooding. The river forecasts for this area were 
still within the bounds of safety. 

It was not until Saturday. January 24. that the government 
began warning people of the flood danger. The river then 
was surging to within a few feet of the top of Route Z7 . which 
now has a big levee protecting it but which was then, the top 
of the levee. The highway between Mound City and Mounds 
stood but a little way out of water. The water then, was 
almost at a record level. 

Mound City and Cairo began evacuating on Saturday, Jan- 
uary 23. Heavy sleet blocked tralTic. Many people went to 
Mounds, only to move two or three days later. 

Water rose rapidly and by Monday, January 25, was start- 
ing to spill over the road north of Mound City and was near 
the pavement between Alound City and Mounds. 

Mounds began moving as water came in from the over- 
flowing highwav. It could be seen approaching and then 

*t5 "•&' 

46 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

running along the ditches at the side of streets. It advanced 
in waves, receded a bit and advanced again, and each time it 
was farther than before. 

Tuesday found water over much of Mounds and by night- 
fall, nearly everyone was out. 

All connections with Mound City were broken by Tuesday 
morning, save foot passengers walking the levee to the Illinois 

Inside Mound City the efforts of people to move or save 
belongings ; the lack of material to fight the fiood and the 
lack of men and organization, played their part. But even if 
these had been perfect, it would have been difficult to save 
the town. More personal property could have been saved. 

While Mound City and Mounds were fighting flood waters 
and trying to save property, another flood swept across the 
county, which was almost as disasterous. The Ohio River 
broke through a levee in Massac County and got into the 
Cache and swept down on Karnak. The attempt to stop the 
flood there was useless. Water soon had most of the town 
covered, and while never so deep, it was deep enough that 
nearly everyone abandoned their homes. 

The Cache River became a river. One could get in a 
motor boat at \\'hite Hill at the railroad, and ride to the 
Karnak Spur. The water shallowed in places, but the river 
was from two to five miles wide in places and in the early 
part of the flood, it flowed at high speed. 

This water swept down on Perks and it almost surrounded 
Ullin. It got so high that the Illinois Central kept cars on 
the track to keep it from washing. The state highway was 
flooded some three feet deep or more for a space of more 
than a mile. 

The Cache continued to race on west and south and turned 
and ran into the Mississippi. When Ohio waters rose high at 
th^ mouth of Cache it forced the Cache to turn backward to 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 47 

the Mississippi. The Mississippi, fortunately, was at a low 
stasre. which saved Cairo and it also saved cities farther south 
from destruction. The Mississippi River showed the effect of 
the Ohio River far past Cape Girardeau, Mo., and on the 
succeeding nights, when Cairo watched water from over 
l^ulkheads which were patroled, a slight rise of the Mississippi 
would have brought disaster. 

In other words. Cairo barely escaped. Even a windy da}- 
would have brought ruin to that city. 

In Mound City, it became apparent that the back levee was 
the danger spot. Water soon rose against the bulkhead. On 
Wednesday, shortly before noon, there was a serious leak and 
later one developed which was not stopped, and the fight was 
given up. vSoon water had undermined a gap and was pouring 
over. The levee never did break. The bulkhead was under- 
mined, possibly because it was not dug deep enough, and 
water came in. Even when it became a roaring torrent, it did 
not cut a gap over 20 feet Avide and 6 or 8 feet deep. 

Water rose in the town all that day and night. The howling 
of dogs, the cries of fowls and the mewing of cats could be 
heard everywhere along with the popping of ice, for heavy 
sleet sheets were floating about. 

Water rose again the last of the week. Actually, the bulk- 
head at the Shipyard was completely covered by water at the 
height of the flood, which shows that the town could prob- 
abh' not have been saved. The bulkhead on the back levee 
was covered almost entirely at the high point of the flood. 
The flood probably reached 65 feet at Mound City, a record 

From dates of the Pulaski Enterprise, these things are 
gleaned. Flood January 27. Entered the office February 20, 
which was in a boat with water still six feet deep. March 19 
got out the first paper after the flood. The office had water 
in it for six weeks. Some of the town had water in it more 

48 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

than eight weeks. Greatest depth of water in Mound City, 
about 20 feet and shallowest about 12 feet at the Postoffice 
in the Phoenix Block. 

Mounds emerged from the flood earlier than Mound City 
and Karnak earlier than Mounds. 

Dazed and bewildered people returned to their homes. 
Many had been in refugee camps. Many had been with 
relatives. It was a discouraged and dismayed people who 
surveyed the wreckage of homes. 

Loss of furniture was one of the principal items. Some 
buildings were wrecked. All buildings were damaged. Plate 
glass was gone. 

The Red Cross came in and did considerable, but the Red 
Cross helped those who could not help themselves, as a rule, 
and while it is the only agency working in the flood relief, it 
gave relief to only a part of the loss. Perhaps all relief 
agencies meet tha.t criticism. 

The State of Illinois built a levee for Mounds to protect 
them from waters from the east and strengthened the back 
levee at Mound Cit}'. However, these are not adequate now 
unless they are strengthened further. 

The total loss over the county easily reached $2,000,000. 
The loss of time and interruption of business, of course, cannot 
be estimated. There were five lives lost when five Negros 
drowned as they left Mound City for Mounds in a boat and 
their boat hit an ice cake. 

At the peak of the flood, the Cache River actually made an 
island of most of Pulaski County, which could be reached only 
by boat. Route Z7 was blocked at White Hill and required 
boats and Route 2 at Ullin where boats were required. The 
Cache and Ohio surrounded most of the county and covered 
much of it too. 

During the peak of the flood, more than half of the people 
of this county were homeless. All of Mounds and Mound City 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 49 

were driven out. Almost every home in Karnak was vacated 
entirely. Perks was completely under and the outskirts of 
both Ullin and Pulaski were under water. In addition to this, 
many farm homes had to be left, for the Cache was a raging 
river the size of which no one had ever seen before, as the 
Ohio took a short cut to the Mississippi. Possibly the total 
who fled from home from one week to two or three months 
was 8,000. 

In evacuating people, the National Guard, the Illinois 
Emergency Relief and the W'PA took part and there was 
confusion. Those who experienced it know the need of an 
organization, centralized body which can command trucks, 
provide shelter and food and care. At that, these organiza- 
tions did well, and the Relief worked best. 

Those who experienced the need to suddenly leave home 
know of the need of help at that time. They also know that 
a more accurate forecast of river dangers in advance would 
provide time in which to leave and to store belongings. Given 
one day of time more than was granted before warning was 
issued, and given the help of a fleet of trucks, and half of the 
personal property loss would have been averted. 

The loss fell upon individuals, for there was no flood insur- 
ance carried. The restitution given by the Red Cross was to 
those not able to rebuild or without resources. The man of 
average resources bore his own losses. Those without 
resources, were helped. 

Now, some six years later, much of the traces of the flood 
are gone. Mound City, hardest hit, still bears the marks. But 
hard work and a determination to make home a home again 
gradually removed the flood stains. 

It is a tribute to the people to see what has been done 
after so terrible a flood. 

50 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

—Part IV 




Cities and Villages 

-The County Seat- 

Mound City, in the southeast part of the county on the 
banks of the Ohio, is the county seat. Situated in the flood 
plain of the Ohio River, it is protected from flood waters by 
huge levees. The city is about one and one-half miles long 
and one-half mile wide. 

When the city was first settled, it was the opinion of most 
of the residents that the Ohio River would never flood th^ 
site. However, in the spring of 1858 the question was an- 
swered. In June of that year, the river rose until it was some 
two or three feet deep over the town. The mounds were not 
covered. Again in 1862 the new city was likewise flooded. 
This led the authorities and the people of the city to con- 
template building a levee. Finally it was decided to do so. 
Bonds bearing ten percent interest to run for ten years were 
issued to pay for the levee and a contract was let to George 
W. Carter, Alexander Frazier and Timothy Booth to do the 
work for thirty cents per cubic yard. Payment was to be in 
citv bonds. Late in 1866 this first levee was completed. Its 
length was three miles. 

The new levee was to be immediately tested, for in the 
spring of 1867, the Ohio again overflowed its banks and the 
levee was soon surrounded. Fears were at once expressed 
that from the newness of the levee it might not be able to 
withstand the pressure of the water without the town. They 
were soon realized for in the northwest part of the levee a 
break fifty feet wide occurred. The water rushed into the 
city with great and forceful rapidity, yet it required twenty 
hours for the level within the town to reach the level of that 
without. There was no particular damage to the property for 


52 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

the water attained a depth of approximately three feet. After 
the water receded, examination of the break revealed the fact 
that several old logs had been placed in the levee in the 
building of it. They were the cause of the break. 

Following this flood another contract, this time to build the 
levee broader at the base and raise its height, Avas made with 
A. J. Dougherty and George A. Lounsberry. These men were 
also paid in city bonds and the total bonded indebtedness for 
levee purposes was $47,500. These gentlemen proceeded to 
fill their contract and the levee was strong enough to with- 
stand the floods which came upon it in the following years. 
Hovv^ever, after the floods of 1897, 1912-13, and 1928 the levees 
were raised to greater heights and made broader to with- 
stand possible floods. 

After the building of the Dougherty-Lounsberry levee, 
which was completed in 1868, no flood water entered the city 
until January 1937. That year in an unprecedented winter 
flood the Ohio rose to heights never before conceived of and 
in spite of a levee at that time 20 feet above flood stage the 
river rose until the levee was topped and again through the 
northwest part of the levee the town was flooded. Following 
this flood a larger levee was erected or rather the existing 
levees were strengthened and made both wider and higher 
to protect the town. Only time will tell whether at last "01" 
Man River" is licked. A chapter dealing with the 1937 flood 
will be found in this book. 

Known in the early days of river travel as the "Mounds" 
because of the prehistoric mounds found there. Mound City 
had a small settlement because of its natural advantages in 
those days of river travel, as a trading point. Its growth 
was interrupted several times, }'et men persisted in their 
efiforts to build here. When the' steamboats began to ply the 
rivers, it became a favorite harbor with steamboatmen and 
was considered the head of navigation during periods of low 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 53 

water or when the upper river was frozen over. Many 
interesting anecdotes have been preserved for us about the 
very early days, l)ut space does not permit their teUing. 

In 1854, Gen. Moses M. Rawlings decided to lay out a city 
at "The Mounds". He owned about 85 acres of land and laid 
out the lower part of the city in town lots and began to sell 
them to settlers. Realizing the advantage of a railroad to 
his new city he secured the right of way and built, out of his 
own means, a railroad connecting Mound City, for that is 
what he called it, with the I. C. at what is now the city of 
Mounds. This was known as the Mound City Railroad and 
was completed in 1856. The point where the road connected 
with the I. C. was known as "The Mounds Junction." At the 
time of the building of this railroad there were only some 
dozen or so houses in Mound Citv. 

Emporium City 

Tn 1855 some men in Cincinnati, Ohio, organized a company 
under the name of the Emporium Real Estate and Manu- 
facturing Company for the purpose of establishing a great 
city somewhere on the banks of the Lower Ohio River. After 
securing about $1,500,000 of capital they came to Mound City 
and bought from Gen. Rawlings the land north of and ad- 
jacent to his development, laid it off in streets and lots, and 
proceeded to sell lots at both public auction and private sale. 
They named their development EMPORIUM CITY. They 
bought the Mound City Railroad from Gen. Rawlings. 
Through their operations a great boom took place. Lots sold 
for as much as $130 per front foot. Under the auspices of this 
company, a pottery and a large foundry were erected. After 
the erection of the foundry the Emporium Company con- 
structed the MARINE WAYS, but soon disposed of them to 
another firm. Houses were rapidly built both for sale and 

54 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

for rent. Soon the new city was a thriving place. In 1857 
Emporium City and Mound City were incorporated under the 
name Mound City. 

The Emporium Company, in 1857, built the stone founda- 
tions for twelve warehouse buildings on the river front. 
Being unable to complete the buildings, the company in June 
1858; sold the lots and foundations to private individuals. 
These jointly in the years 1858 and '59 built the block of 
buildings. The material used was brick, the best made in the 
pottery north of the city limits on the Ohio River. The build- 
ings were joined together and each was 25 by 80 feet and 
three stories high. The third floors of the two south build- 
ings were not separated but were thrown together and 
finished for a sort of community hall and called "Stokes Hall". 
Theatricals, dances, conventions, and court have been held in 
this hall. 

-Courthouse Moves- 

In 1865 an election to determine whether or not to move 
the county seat from Caledonia to Mound City was authorized 
by the State Legislature. The election was held on May 13, 
1866 and Mound City won. However, the residents of Cale- 
donia and their proponents claimed that the soldiers and 
sailors stationed at Mound City had voted and challenged the 
legality of the change in the courts. The matter dragged on 
as only matters can in our courts with one delay after another 
and without any decision being rendered until 1868. Tradition 
has it that a verdict never was rendered by the court until 
George W. Carter, President of the Emporium Company at 
that time, and being vexed by such delay, hired some ox carts 
and descended on Caledonia at midnight subtracted the 
records from the courthouse by stealth and brought them to 
Mound Citv. Great was the consternation in Caledonia next 


If nn I 

m ^1 



Constructed in 1912, this two-story brick building houses the 
county offices. The second floor consists of a courtroom and 
smaller offices, with the first floor being occupied by the elective 
officials. Shown at left is a portion of the jail, constructed at 
the same time. 


Now occupied by the Ladoga Canning Company, this building, 
one of the largest in Pulaski county, was used during the Civil 
War as a military hospital, being occupied by 2,200 sick and 
wounded after the Battle of Shiloh. Since the war it has been 
used variously as a hotel, courthouse, stave mill, furniture factory 
and now as a canning plant. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 55 

day when it Avas discovered that the records of the county 
were missing and greater the chagrin of the citizens when it 
was discovered that while they slept the enemy had come 
and borne them away. From that day to this Mound City has 
.remained the county seat though there have been some 
sporadic efforts for another change. In 1912 a beautiful and 
commodious courthouse and a modern jail were built in 
Washington Square which had been set apart at the laying 
out of the city by the Emporium Company for the county 

After the Civil War private industrialists saw opportunity 
at Mound City especially in timbering and woodworking 
activities. As a result a number of saw mills, a furniture 
factory and other establishments were built. These furnished 
employment to large numbers of men and the town grew and 
prospered. Eventually the timber resources were so depleted 
that most of these enterprises were moved away or aban- 
doned. Some of them burned and were not rebuilt. This has 
gone on until now there are only four industries left, namely, 
a stave mill, a veneer and basket mill, a vegetable cannery and 
the Marine Ways. This latter caught fire in 1942 and the old 
part of it which had been in service since before the Civil War 
was destroyed. 

-The First School- 

In 1857 a school house, wooden construction, was erected 
on Walnut Street. It was built by subscription. General 
Rav.'lings gave the lot and also $50.00. The building was un- 
pretentious but was large enough to hold all the children of 
the city. However, a school had been taught before the build- 
ing of this house in a small building located on the alley 
between Poplar and Walnut Streets south of where Ed. 
Beaver's store now stands. A young man named Samuel P. 

56 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

Steel from Pennsylvania was the first teacher and he con- 
tinued to teach in Mound City for a number of years. At no 
time since this small beginning have the people of this com- 
munity failed to appreciate the need of adequate schools. In 
1879 a great fire occurred in Mound City which burned the 
Navy Yard buildings, the courthouse, most of the business 
section, much of the residences and the public school building. 
The directors immediately made arrangements for other 
quarters and school was continued almost uninterrupted. 


Sunday schools, called Sabbath schools in those days, were 
organized as early as 1857 before there was a chtxrch organi- 
zation of any kind. That same year a temperance society 
was organized. 

In the year 1857 the Methodist Episcopal Church of Mound 
Cit}- was organized as part of the Cairo Circuit. Rev. R. H. 
Manier. pastor. As long as the church was a part of the 
Cairo circuit, the records were not kept at Mound City. 
Hov.'ever, the organization prospered so that in 1865 it was 
elevated to a station and Rev. J. P. Dew, sent by the Southern 
Illinois Conference, as pastor. It continued as a station until 
September, 1880, when it became part of the Alound City 
Circuit embracing Mound City and \'illa Ridge churches. 
Later, it separated, and while joined with Mounds at one time, 
is now a church with a pastor of its own. 

As early as 1857 several Catholic families lived in Mound 
Cit}" but there was no Church organization of any kind. A 
priest came from Cairo once or t\\ice monthly and held 
services but it was not until 1863 that the Catholics of Mound 
City had a church of their own. The building was located on 
High Street and extended back to Diamond Street where 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 57 

Hosea Dunlap now lives. The building, which rejoiced the 
hearts of the parishioners was 25 by 56 feet and elegantly 
finished and furnished. The Emporium Company gave the 
lot and the people in various ways raised the money to pay for 
the building. The Church was named St. Mary's from the 
very beginning. A Father Moor was the first priest in charge. 
The present commodious structure located on the corner of 
South Fourth and Walnut Streets was erected in 1892. and 
has since served. It was beautifully restored after the 1937 

In the year of 1907, the Rev. J. B. Kelly held a revival 
meeting in the Blum Block. This meeting resulted in a num- 
ber of conversions. Immediately following the close of the 
meeting the First Baptist Church of Mound City was organ- 
ized. The church continued to worship in the Blum building 
until 1911. Under the leadership of the pastor, the Rev. Allen 
Ferrill, the present building was erected by Contractor D. D. 
Harris. In 1920 the church was dedicated free from all 
indebtedness. The dedicatory sermon was preached ])y the 
Rev. W. P. Throgmorton, D.D., who was an outstanding 
leader among Baptists. Rev. B. F. Rodman, secretary of The 
Illinois Baptist State Association, and State Evangelist H. C. 
Mitchell took part in the services. The Rev. H. E. Lockard 
was pastor at that time. 

The church did not have a parsonage until 1921 at which 
time a five room house was purchased at 115 Pearl Street. 
The Rev. W. J. Ward was the first pastor to occupy the 
property. This place Avas used as a parsonage until 1940. It 
was sold and property adjoining the church on High Street 
was purchased. 

\\'hile a complete record of the membership is not available, 
the records that are available show that more than 600 per- 
sons have become members. The follo\\ing ministers have 

58 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

served as pastors: J. B. Kelly, E. H. Cunningham, Allen 
Ferrill, S. H. Allen, J. Grimm, C. R. Reeves, H. E. Lockard, 
W. J. Ward, A. H. Dace, H. B. Atherton, Wm. Shelton, B. E. 
Overby, J. L. Wall, and Robert E. Knight. 

Iti 1862 Dr. Stephen J. McMaster, an Episcopalian priest 
became Chaplain of the U. S. Government Hospital at Mound 
City. A chapel was fitted up in the hospital building where 
services were held and were attended not only by the soldiers 
in the hospital but also by the people. In 1863, Dr. Isaac P. 
Labough became rector of the Episcopal church in Cairo and 
desired to hold services in Mound Citv. The Methodists 
tendered him the use of their house of worship and he held 
services there for some time. In 1865 Rev. John Foster held 
services in the school house. During the year 1866 Rev. 
William Britton became pastor at Mound City and during this 
year the house of worship of the Episcopalian Church at 
Mound Citv was erected and dedicated. "St. Peter's". 



National Cemetery, in which lie the bodies of approximately 
5000 soldier, sailor and marine dead, is a bsautifully maintained 
spot in Pulaski county. It was established in 1364, and because 
of difficulties in removing bodies from other resting places to the 
National shrine, nearly half of the number buried there are 
unknown. A large granite shaft stands in the center of the plot 
as a memorial to those dying in service of their country. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 59 

National Cemetery 

The inscription on an antique gun near the northeast corner 
of the speaker's stand in the National Cemetery tells much 
in few words. 






KNOWN 2.367 

UNKNOWN 2,360 

It will be noted from the above inscription that more than 
half the original inhabitants of this silent city of the dead 
were unknown at the time of interment. These were Civil 
War soldiers and sailors who were unidentified at time of 
1:)urial. It came about this wise. 

During the Civil War, the soldiers and sailors who died in 
the Military Hospital at Mound City were buried in different 
places. Some of them, suffering from small pox, were kept 
isolated together on covered barges moored to the Kentucky 
shore and were buried as soon as possible after death. When 
the Cemetery was established the bodies of these men were 
removed from the original places of internment and buried in 
here In many instances it was impossible to find out just 
who the individual had been. Consequently there is a larger 
percentage of unknown dead buried here in proportion to 
the known. 

60 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 


Sometime before 1843 a village was platted on the banks 
of the Ohio River about 12 miles from its mouth and named 
North Caledonia. A man named Justus Post was the pro- 
prietor of the town and for some reason never recorded the 
plat. It remained only a paper town until 1843 at the forma- 
tion of Pulaski County it was chosen by the County Com- 
missioners as the county seat. At that time a few blocks of 
the paper town were given to the county as a seat of justice 
and the plat of these blocks was recorded. This village never 
attained a large size possibly 200 being the largest number of 
people who ever lived there at any one time. It remained the 
county seat until about 1868 when the county seat was re- 
moved to Mound City. The village immediately fell into 
decav and ruin. 

Incorporated in the present village of Olmsted is the old 
village of North Caledonia, commonly known as Caledonia. 
This is that part of Olmsted that lies on the hill near the 
river. It was platted sometime before the year 1843 but the 
plat was not recorded. Justus Post, one of the leading citizens 
of that day, was the Proprietor. In 1843. when Pulaski 
County was formed, Caledonia was chosen as the "Seat of 
Justice" and Justus Post gave the county the land for the 
site of the courthouse and jail. Only this portion of the plat 
of the village is on record. The village of Caledonia continued 
as the county seat of Pulaski County until 1868 when the 
county seat was moved to Mound City. 

In this part of the village of Olmsted is located an old house 
which was built by Justus Post about 1828 for his residence. 
Here he lived until his death sometime in 1846. The old 
house still continues to do duty as a residence though its 
builder has long been gone. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 61 

It was here that ^Ir. Post was living when he penned the 
follcwing interesting document. 

"To All Persons Whom It May Concern : 

"Know ye the Nancy, the bearer hereof, a colored woman 
aged about twenty eight years, belonging to me, and who has 
been a servant in my family, during the period of about 
twenty years last past, is this day by these presents emanci- 
pated and liberated from any future and all subsequent in- 
voluntary servitude, and is at entire liberty to hereafter go, 
do, and act for herself. 

"In witness whereof I hereby subscribe my name and aflfix 
my seal at Caledonia in the County of Alexander and State of 
Illinois, this fifth day of May, A. D. 1837. 

■'Signed, sealed and delivered 
in I'lesence of 

"E. B. Clemson "Justus Post 

"Ester Clemson SEAL" 

Numerous efiforts were made to build the "Citv of Dreams" 
on the high banks of the Ohio River. The first such efifort 
within the territory of what is now Pulaski County was the 
Town of America. Co-incident with this attempt was the 
paper town of Trinity, located at the mouth of Cache River, 
which was platted on an extensive scale but never amounted 
to any more than a frontier trading post and trans-shipping 
point at the beginning of the steamboating age. CALEDONIA 
which was located about a half-mile down stream from the 
limits of the present village of Olmsted was another such. 
Here, on a beautiful high bank of the Ohio, another rather 
ambitious town was platted but failed because of the difficult}' 
of loading and unloading goods on the river boats caused by 
inaccessibility to the river. The proprietors had failed to 
take into account the sheerness of the banks and the narrow- 
ness of the bayou leading down to the river. NAPOLEON, 

62 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

located at the site of the present Dam 53, passed into oblivion 
before it became more than a name. North Caledonia lived, 
became the first Seat of Justice for Pulaski County, declined 
when the County Seat was removed but survived and became 
a part of the present thriving village of Olmsted. 

All the romantic figures of the early days of the county 
moved throug'h Xorth Caledonia. ?klany of the important 
personages in the early years of the State visited this oldest 
of the present villages of the county. Abraham Lincoln, ac- 
cording to local legends, visited the little city and practiced 
law within the walls of the old brick courthouse, the remains 
of v.-hich are still to be seen atop the hill just where the road 
turns down to the river. 

Tn the early years this was an important shipping point l^oth 
as regards the receiving and the shipping of goods. With a 
good landing, easy access to the river, and an elevation high 
above flood vrater the community bade fair to become an 
important center. Roads led into the interior over which the 
farmers of that day came with their produce. In those days 
of slow travel the distance from market precluded the ship- 
ment of any perishable commodities. Consequently the 
principal outgoing items of commerce consisted of livestock, 
grain, and poultry. From as far as Jonesboro the farmers 
came with these commodities for sale and shipment to the 
markets of the south. So many chickens were shipped that 
the road to Jonesboro acquired the name of the "Chicken 
Road" and tradition has it that feathers from the birds marked 
out the entire course of the road. The coming of the railroads 
put an end to this phase in the economic life of the county 
and the removal of the county seat plunged the old town into 
shadows. Her glories dimmed but the hardy spirit within 
the breasts of her citizens precluded the abandonment of the 
town and she lived on until she lost her identity in the 
corporate name of OLMSTED. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 63 

After the construction of the N. Y. C. R. R., Rev. E. B. 
Ohnsted, who owned about 200 acres, platted a village ad- 
jacent to North Caledonia and the railroad and called it 
OLMSTED, sometimes nowadays spelled Olmstead. Lots 
were sold and the village grew as an agricultural shipping and 
trading center until about 1915 when the Sinclair Refining Co. 
built a Fuller's Earth plant on the south part of the site of 
North Caledonia and begun to mine and refine Fuller's Earth 
for industrial purposes. Soon the Standard Oil Co. acquired 
property and erected a plant just south of the Sinclair plant. 
Since that time this industrial activity has contributed much 
to the development of this village. However, the Standard 
Oil plant ceased to operate in 1939 and the property has since 
lain idle. It has been sold by this company. 

About 1886 a move was started to incorporate the village 
and succeeded. The incorporation included the villages of 
Olmsted and North Caledonia under the name OLMSTED. 
The population of this village is 560 (Census 1930). 

64 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 


In 1818, Dr. Wni. P. Alexander, agent for James Riddle, 
Henry Bechtle and Thomas Sloo of Cincinnati, Ohio, and 
Stephen and Henry Rector of St. Louis, Mo., laid out a town 
some 12 miles above the mouth of the Ohio River with much 
ceremony. When Alexander County was formed in 1819 Dr. 
Alexander, for whom the new count}- was named, succeeded 
in having the new town chosen as the county seat. In 1821. 
the State Legislature, by special act incorporated the "Town 
of America" as a town. 

In 1818, a town was platted on the Ohio River and named 
America. Its proprietors were Henry Bechtle and William 
M. Alexander. Both at that time were citizens of Kentucky 
and both had visions of building a large city on the Illinois 
side of the Ohio. Mr. Alexander acted as agent for Mr. 
Bechtle and looked after all of the business of the partnership. 
He soon became influential in the new State and when Alex- 
ander County was formed in 1819 he was accorded the honor 
of having it named after himself. He also succeeded in 
getting his new town named as the "Seat of Justice". Thus 
America became the first county seat of Alexander County. 

In 1821 Dr. Alexander, for he was an M. D., succeeded in 
getting his town incorporated as a town by a special act of 
the Illinois Legislature. The town was located about three 
miles upsteam from where Mound City now stands, near 
where Otto Creek empties into the Ohio. 

Today the site of the Town of America is in farm land and 
the casual visitor would never suspect that a town once 
was there. In the 1820's a different scene would have been 
presented. Houses and store buildings, a courthouse and a 
jail, a cemetery, and streets would have been in evidence. 
Now these are all gone and only a few farmhouses, which 
have replaced the buildings of the town, are to be seen. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 65 

Shortly after the incorporation of the Town it was dis- 
covered that a large sandbar in the river effectually prevented 
the landing- of steamboats except during high water. This 
was a difficulty which the town was unable to overcome. 

In 1835 the county seat of Alexander County was removed 
from America to Unity. This removal caused a law suit 
which, so far as any one now living knows, was never settled. 
In 1825 the Trustees of the Town of America had made an 
agreement with the County Commissioners to surrender $1150 
worth of County Orders, which they held for the Town of 
America, in return for which the Commissioners agreed that 
the Seat of Justice should never be moved from the Town of 
America. In event the County Seat should ever be moved 
it was agreed that the debt of $1150 should be renewed in 
favor of the Town and bear interest from the date of such 
removal. In 1835 the county seat was moved to Unity. After 
vainly trying to persuade the County Commissioners to keep 
the agreement of their predecessors in office the Trustees 
of the Town of America, finally, 1837, appropriated $500 to 
pay the expenses of a suit to recover the money, employed 
attorneys, and began suit. In May, 1838, the County Com- 
missioners appointed a committee to employ counsel, sub- 
poena witnesses, and otherwise attend in the suit of the 
Trustees of the Town of America. These are the last entries 
in the records in regard to the matter. It is unknown today 
whether or not it was ever paid. If not and the debt could 
still be collected under the terms of the agreement it would 
require millions to liquidate the claim. 

After the removal of the county seat in 1835 the town fell 
into rapid decline finally reverting to farmland. It was not. 
however, until 1867 that the Act of Incorporation was vacated 
by Act of the State Legislature. 

There is at present and has been since the building of the 
present N. Y. C. R. R. in the 1870's a depot and postoffice some 

66 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

one and one-half miles west of the old town site called after 
it "America". However, the postoffice has been discontinued 
— the final chapter in the death of a city which early in history 
showed much promise. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 67 


A detailed story of the founding and growth of the city of 
Mounds would read like a chapter out of the Arabian Nights. 
One day the Forest Primeval with huge oak. walnut, ash. 
poplar, hickory, pecan, gun, beech, and other trees standing 
in all their glory and the next a small village begun beside 
the railroad tracks. A great grove of beeches in the vicinity 
caused the proprietor to give the new city the name of Beech- 
wood. In a few years, due to the activities of the I. C. Rail- 
road, a thriving little city stood where once the deer had 
ranged and the wolf had raised his racuous howl. 

In 1889 when the railroad bridge across the Ohio River at 
Cairo was being built, the Illinois Central Railroad Company 
began the construction of a division terminal three miles west 
of :\Iound City where the railroad to the latter place joined 
the main line of the I. C. Capt. X. B. Thistlewood saw the 
need for a village to house the employees of the Railroad 
Company and laid out a small tract of land in streets and lots 
and sold the lots to those employees. Homes were built on 
those lots. He called the original village BEECHWOOD but 
the Railroad Company knew the place as Mound City Junc- 
tion. This name was soon changed to that of MOUNDS. As 
the activities of the railroad enlarged the number of em- 
ployees was increased and more lots were laid out and sold. 
The village continued to grow until the terminal was discon- 
tinued by the Railroad Company in 1931. 

For three decades, 1890 to 1920, while the railroads were 
enjoying their greatest prosperity and for a fourth, 1920 to 
1930, when rail revenues fell off and adjustments were being 
made and were in the making. Mounds was a little Chicago. 
Retail businesses of all kinds prospered due to the large pay- 
rolls. Modern school buildings were erected. Comfortable 
homes were built by many of the citizens. The Baptists, 

68 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

Methodists, and Catholics erected church buildings consonant 
with their congregations. Mounds presented to the world the 
face of a prosperous, bustling little city. But alas, the adjust- 
ment being made by the I. C. led that railroad, in 1931, to 
discontinue the division terminal with its busy yards and 
shops and this city, whose prosperity was founded on the 
employment of its citizens by the railroad, fell on evil days. 
Unemployment mounted, business declined, adjustments had 
to be made. With unfaltering courage the citizens faced the 
situation. Gloomy as the future appeared they went to work 
to rebuild as best they could the prosperity of their commu- 
nity. The merchants of the place have attracted a large agri- 
cultural trade from the surrounding area and the cit}' bids 
fair to prosper in spite of the loss of the railroad terminal. 
This spirit of self-reliance and individual enterprise will build 
up any community, city, or nation. 

The percentage of college graduates among the younger ad- 
ults is high. The educational level of the city is consequently 
high. With an intelligent, educated citizenry the future of 
this city is full of promise. There should be developed at 
Mounds in the next few years a sound enduring prosperity 
engineered and built up by its own people. 

The population of the city of Mounds, for it is under city 
organization that it operates, is 2200. Since the discontinu- 
ance of the railroad division terminal the employees who 
owned their homes in Mounds continue in many instances 
to live there and work elsewhere. The merchants of the place 
have attracted a large agricultural trade from the surrounding 
area and the city of Mounds bids fair to prosper in spite of 
the cutting off of the rail revenues. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 69 

-New Grand Chain- 

The village of Xew Grand Chain was laid out by Joseph W. 
Gaunt, Warner K. Bartleson. and David Porter. The plat was 
recorded October 31, 1872. A village called Grand Chain was 
laid out just north of where the present village of New 
Grand Chain stands but there is no record of its plat. Suffice 
it to say that Grand Chain failed to survive the competition 
of its new namesake. 

' Kamak 

A village called CACHETOX was laid out November 13, 
1873. as a town by John Butler. It was vacated by law on 
February 17, 1875. A small settlement continued at the place 
and a post office called OAKTOWN stood near the railroad. 
This situation continued until the year 1905 when W. N. 
Moyers platted a village for an industrial concern, Main Bros. 
Box and Lumber Co.. which included the old site of Cacheton. 
The village stands where the N. Y. C. R. R. and the Joppa 
Branch of the C. & E. I. R. R. cross in the northeast corner 
of the county. Due to the fact that this section of the state 
is known as "Little Egypt" and has several other place names 
of f:gvptian origin Main Bros, chose to call their new town 
KARNAK. For several years the proprietors refused to sell 
any lots in the village but in recent years have departed from 
that practice. Located on two railroads and within a short 
distance of the river as well as having a hardsurfaced road 
outlet, the village enjoys excellent shipping facilities and is 
the center of a prosperous agricultural community. Main 
Bros, have, through the years, operated a large wood working 
mill there and bid fair to continue to do so in the future. 

70 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

-Villa Ridge- 

About 1840 a settlement was started by immigrants from 
Ohio and Pennsylvania about three miles north of the pres- 
ent city of Mounds. Lands were cleared, homes erected, 
schools and churches built, and it soon became a thriving- 
agricultural community. When the I. C. Railroad was built in 
1852 a depot was erected here. Soon thereafter the settlers 
began to raise fruits, strawberries, and vegetables for market. 
The railroad company had called the depot VILLA RIDGE. 
In 1866 a village was platted on the east side of the railroad. 
It grew rapidly in importance and soon became the largest 
agricultural shipping center in the county. This village has 
never been incorporated but the community has always been 
one of the best in the county. The homes are generally well 
constructed and well maintained and the people have high 
ideals of citizenship, morality, education, and religion. 


During the building of the I. C. Railroad in 1852 a construc- 
tion camp was built about three miles north of V^illa Ridge. 
This was first called the "Camp in Pulaski County" b>' the 
engineer in charge in making his reports. Later he shortened 
the name of Camp Pulaski. A depot was erected there and 
called Pulaski. After the building of the road the residents 
of the camp began to cut cordwood to sell to the railroad and 
remained. In 1855, a village was laid out adjacent the railroad 
and platted in streets and lots. In the course of time, as the 
land was cleared, farming took the place of timbering activi- 
ties and the village, which started as a railroad construction 
camp, took on permanence as the shipping and trading center 
of a prosperous agricultural community. The population of 
the village is 521. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 71 


Soon after the building of the I. C. Railroad a man named 
James Bell built a large saw mill near the place where the 
railroad crosse*; Cache River in the northwest part of Pulaski 
County. A post office was soon established there and called 
Ullin. Other mills were built in the surrounding bottoms at 
distances of from one to three miles from the Bell mill. Finally 
in 1858 a village was laid out on the west side of the railroad 
tracks and the plat recorded. The village grew and other 
lots were laid out on the east side of the tracks and sold. As 
the timber was cleared away agricultural activities began and 
the village became the center of an agricultural community 
as Vvcll as the location of an industrial enterprise of some 
magnitude. Finallv the mill burned and Mr. Bell sold out his 
interests to other people who rebuilt on a smaller scale. Mill 
after mill has burned here but always another has been built. 
Timbering activities have, in recent years, decreased because 
of a failing- source of supply and other difficulties in the 
industry but farming has greatly increased. About 1888 the 
village was incorporated as a village and has remained so. 
The population of the village is 625. 


When the first white settlers came to this county they found 
an Indian camp called Wetaug located in the northwest part 
of vrhat is now Pulaski County. The camp took its name 
from the Indians living there. They were an offshoot of the 
Cherokee tribe who called themselves Wetaugas. The name 
Avas transliterated into English as Wetaug. A large spring 
was found there which was probably the attraction to the 
Indians. The opening of this spring was about 30 feet across 
and the depth of it was unknown. \\'hite men settled near 

11 Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

here very early. After the building of the I. C. the railroad 
company placed a water tank near the spring to supply its 
locomotives with water. In 1856 a village was laid out and 
platted, a depot built and Wetaug became the center of the 
surrounding agricultural community. 

The last known chief of the Wetauga Indians was called 
John Wetaug. His death occurred about 1820 and he was 
buried at Wetaug. The location of this grave is known. This 
is perhaps the only Indian grave in Southern Illinois of which 
it can be said that the white men of our time know the name 
of the interred. His descendents in the direct line are still 
among- us. The Wetauga Indians all intermarried with the 
Axhites and lost their identity in that of the dominant race. 

In 1896 an earthquake occurred which shook Southern Illi- 
nois. For several days after the quake the waters of the 
Wetaug spring were muddy and then they began to fail. It 
soon became necessary for the railroad company to move its 
water tower to Cache River to secure a water supply. For 
many years the spring has been only a seep with very little 
flow. Still the ground is always saturated w^ith water where 
the spring was no matter how dry the season happens to be. 

Shortly after the removal of the railroad water tower a 
series of fires destroyed most of the houses in the village 
and a large flouring mill which was located there. The mill 
and most of the houses were never rebuilt and this old village 
seems to be doomed to extinction in the course of time. The 
village is not incorporated. 

Moyers' History of Pulaski County 73 


In 1900 when the Thebes Ijranch of the C. & E. I. Railroad 
was being built, W. N. Moyers laid out and platted a village in 
Cache River bottoms about five miles east of Wetaug for 
W. A. Wall of Mound City, 111., who was the proprietor. The 
village was and is located on the line of the C. & E. I. The 
proprietor gave the new town the name of Perks in honor of 
a fellow citizen of Mound City. Lots were sold and a few 
houses, one or two frame store buildings, a charcoal kiln and 
one or two small saw mills were built but the village failed 
to grow. As the land was cleared a small farming com- 
munity took form with Perks as the shipping and trading 
center. The population of the entire community is 363 (cen- 
sus 1930). 


Moyers' History of Pulaski County 

-Outstanding Personalities- 

Local tradition has it that during- the boyhood of Orville 
and Wilbur Wright, inventors of the airplane, their father, 
who was a United Brethern minister, pastored a church near 
where the Crossroad School stands. There is an old log house 
south of Crossroads near the top of the hill on the Avest of the 
road where the family is said to have lived during the year 
that the father spent pastoring the long since disbanded 
church. The old log house is a ruin and stands in a thicket of 
brush. The story is unsubstantiated but is possibly true. 

John J. Sutherland, a Congregational Minister of note, who 
became nationally known as a writer of popular fiction in 
later years, pastored the Congregational Church of Mound 
City during the years 1900-1904. One of the books which he 
wrote featured Mound City under the name of Riverview and 
was titled "Thence Cometh the Devil" or "A Story of Life and 
Love in a Little Town on the River." His daughter Jean, Mrs. 
Jean M. Gageby of Warm Springs, Montana, graduated from 
the Mound City High School in 1904 and taught in the public 
schools of the city during the year 1906-07. 

Starting as the Bank of Beech wood in 1903 





is now the 

Deposists $1,200,000 

Capital Stock 50,000 

Surplus 50.000 

Undivided Profits 19,000 

Reserve Accounts 10.000 

Organized as First State Bank of Mounds in August, 
1906, and in 1914 took over the Security State Bank, 
increasing capital stock to $50,000, and in February, 
1932, took over the Security National. 


Otis T. Hudson, President H. H. Melton, Asst. Cashier 
Mrs. M. Lily Rife, Vice-Pres. Agnes M. Alexander, Asst. Cash. 
H. C. Moore, Cashier Sara Struckmeyer, Bookkeeper 


Otis T. Hudson E. L. Crain F. L. Graves 

Mrs. M. Lilly Rife August Crosson Mrs. Ada M. Wood 

Main Brothers Box and Lumber Co. 


Packing: Cases and Wire Bound Boxes 

In the progress of mankind, the shipping of foodstuffs 
from one area to another or one country to another, has 
been greatly developed. From the days of the hogshead 
of days gone by to individual containers now in use. is 
the story. 

We are glad to have made these things and in the 
present war. during this, the county's centennial, we are 
now making boxes which carry meat to soldiers in 
every point of the world. Pulaski County products are 
in the frozen north of Russia and Alaska or in the deserts 
of Africa. They are in England, Australia, and the 

Main Brothers Box and Lumber Co. 

Karnak, Illinois 

It is by reading history of the past that we may enjoy 
the present and foretell something of the future. 

SINCE 1868 

Pulaski County Seat 

MOUND CITY, earlier named Emporium City, 
and in 1857 incorporated under the present name, 
has always been the industrial and business center 
of the county — ^Today a canning factory, veneer 
mill, stave factory, and other smaller industries 
employ hundreds of persons. Modern levees, built 
to withstand water higher than that of 1937, pro- 
tect the city which made an admirable comeback 
from the disastrous 1937 flood. Modern schools, 
churches of all denominations now contribute to 
the advantages of the present day — The city 
officials pay tribute to those early settlers who 
worked hard and long to establish Pulaski County 
100 years ago. 

1943 City Officials 

DAN O'SULLIVAN, Treasurer 





A Progressive Community 

Depending- upon the Natural Resources 

— Farm Land and Mineral Deposits — 

Located on the Ohio River, Highway 37, 

and New York Central Railroad 

— Choice Building Sites Available — 


Officials 1943 


M. L. HUGHES, Clerk 

J. A. RUTHERMAN, Treasurer 






Grand Chain 

When first established was a thriving 
farming and timber community and to- 
day ranks high in food production — good 
schools, good churches in a good town. 

Village Officials 1943 

G. N. BOYD, Mayor 
MRS. E. E. EVERS, Clerk 





A Progressive Community 

Depending- upon the Natural Resources 

— Farm Land and Mineral Deposits — 

Located on the Ohio River, Highway 37, 

and New York Central Railroad 

-Choice Building Sites Available- 


Officials 1943 


M. L. HUGHES, Clerk 

J. A. RUTHERMAN, Treasurer 






Grand Chain 

When first established was a thriving 
farming- and timber community and to- 
day ranks high in food production — good 
schools, good churches in a good town. 

Village Officials 1943 

G. N. BOYD, Mayor 
MRS. E. E. EYERS, Clerk 






Application for permit to organize was filed with the 
Auditor of Public Accounts on August 6th, 1921. Charter 
received and bank opened for business on November 8th, 
1921, with F. L. Duschl as cashier and the following officers 
and directors: 

C. S. Miller, President Oscar Caraker 

J. W. Cook, Vice-President R. B. Endicott 

E. C. Hogendobler 
Original Capital Stock of $20,000 increased to $25,000 
by declaration of stock dividend from earnings on No- 
vember 8th, 1940. 

—OFFICERS 1943— 

E. C. Hogendobler, Pres. J. A. Rutherman, Cashier 

Lloyd Cannon, Vice-Pres. Thelma Schweiger, Asst. Cash. 

Donald A. Miller Lloyd Cannon E. C. Hogendobler 

J. M. Merchant J. A. Rutherman 

Member Federal Reserve System and Federal Deposit 
Insurance Corporation. 

The Security and Protection Provided 


Dependable Insurance Companies 

Has played an important part in the past 100 years of 
Pulaski County and will play an equally important part 
in the next 100 years. 

Look to the Future, and Insure! 






Bus Hourly at all Points 

Cairo and Vienna — 2 Round Trips Daily 
Cairo and Kamak — 4 Round Trips Daily 

For Information Phone No. 1 Mound City 

I. J. HUDSON, Jr. 


Trading and Amusement center of Pulaski County — 
Churches of all denominations ; four public and one 
parochial school. 


J. F. Connell, Mayor 

J. F. Lonergan, City Clerk 

J. H. Jenkins, Treasurer 


Hessie Sullivan George Sitter E. A. Stokes 

Sam Evers Fred Hallerberg Virgil Chambliss 

Homer Stokes, Chief of Police 
Forrest Spencer, Fire Chief 
Chester Parrott, City Engineer 

Pulaski County's 


-Founded in 1845- 

Just two years after the county was chartered by 
the state, the Yards were organized as the HAMBLE- 
TON COLLIAR COMPANY. The Yards have been 
in continuous operation for 98 years with the exception 
of the past year and a half. 




Since 1872 


Good Advertising Medium 
Commercial Job Printing 

The Pulaski Enterprise 

FRANK LEDBETTER. Publisher and Editor 



977.3998W15M C001